This study examines the crucial question that needs to be addressed which is whether the God presented in the Quran is indeed the same God revealed in the Holy Bible. The Quran alleges that the God of Islam, Allah, is indeed the God of Abraham and hence the God of Scripture, Yahweh Elohim. But is this the case?
Are we to assume that just because the Quran states that Allah is Yahweh of the Bible that both Jews and Christians are obligated to believe this to be true? Or do we examine the nature and attributes of Allah in order to compare them with the biblical portrait of Yahweh to find if this is the case?
This process of examination is essential since our objective is to discover the true nature of God, a process whose outcome entails eternal consequences in regard to man’s future destiny in the afterlife. After all, if Allah is the God of Abraham then Jews and Christians are wrong for not embracing Islam. But if Allah is not Yahweh, then Muslims are not worshiping the same God only with a different name.
We will examine certain qualities of Allah as stated in the Quran and briefly compare them to Yahweh and see where the evidence leads us. The reason why we are comparing Allah to Yahweh as opposed to contrasting Yahweh to the quranic portrait of Allah, using the Quran as the standard, is due to the fact that it is Islam that claims to worship the same God of the Holy Bible. Thus, the burden of proof rests upon the Muslims to defend this contention since they believe Allah is the same as Yahweh.
AUTHOR OF EVIL
The Holy Bible teaches that God cannot be tempted by evil and neither tempts anyone with evil; evil being understood as referring to immorality and sin. James 1:13 (c.f. Psalm 5:4-5; Habakkuk 1:13)
Yet, the Quran teaches that Allah is the author of evil:
Verily, the hypocrites seek to deceive Allah, but it is He Who deceives them. And when they stand up for As-Salat (the prayer), they stand with laziness and to be seen of men, and they do not remember Allah but little. S. 4:142 Hilali-KhanAnd (the unbelievers) schemed and planned, and Allah schemed also, and the best of schemers is Allah. S. 3:54
Are they then secure from Allah’s scheme (makra Allahi)? None deemeth himself secure from Allah’s scheme (makra Allahi) save folk that perish. S. 7:99 Pickthall
Remember how the unbelievers schemed against thee, to keep thee in bonds, or to slay thee, or get thee out (of thy home). They scheme and plot, but the best of schemers is Allah. S. 8:30
And when We make people taste of mercy after an affliction touches them, lo! they devise schemes (makrun) against Our communication. Say: Allah is quicker to scheme (makran); surely Our apostles write down what you plan. S. 10:21
And those before them did indeed scheme (makara), but all scheming (al-makru) is Allah’s; He knows what every soul earns, and the unbelievers shall come to know for whom is the (better) issue of the abode. S. 13:42
So they schemed a scheme: and We schemed a scheme, while they perceived not. S. 27:50
The term for scheme in Arabic is makara which denotes one who is a deceiver, one who is conniving, a schemer. It is always used in a negative sense. Allah is thus seen as the best of deceivers, the premiere schemer and conniving one.
This is not simply a Christian perspective but one thoroughly endorsed by Muslim theologians as well.
For example Dr. Mahmoud M. Ayoub in his book, The Quran and Its Interpreters, Vol. II The House of Imran, brings up the question of “how the word makr (scheming or plotting), which implies deceitfulness or dishonesty, could be attributed to God.” (Ibid. [1992 State University of New York Press, Albany], p. 165)
After listing several Muslim sources he quotes ar-Razi as arguing that “scheming (makr) is actually an act of deception aiming at causing evil. It is not possible to attribute deception to God. Thus the word is one of the muttashabihat [multivalent words of the Quran].” (Ibid., p. 166)
Moreover, here is how one of the earliest sources on the life of Muhammad interpreted Q. 8:30:
Then he reminds the apostle of His favour towards him when the people plotted against him ‘to kill him, or to wound him, or to drive him out; and they plotted and God plotted, and is the best of plotters.’ i.e. I DECEIVED them with My firm GUILE so that I delivered you from them. (The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, with introduction and notes by Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press, Karachi, Tenth impression 1995], p. 323; capital emphasis ours)
In fact the Quran furnishes plenty of examples on some of the methods Allah adopts in devising evil:
Remember in thy dream Allah showed them as a few: if he had showed them to thee as many, ye would surely have been discouraged, and ye would surely have disputed in your decision: but Allah saved you: for He knoweth well the (secrets) of (all) hearts. S. 8:43
Allah is said to have shown the opposing fighting forces as few to Muhammad since if he had shown them as they actually were, the Muslims would have been afraid to fight. Hence, Allah had to use deception in order to encourage the Muslims to fight in his cause.
And when We desire to destroy a city, We command its men who live at ease, and they commit ungodliness therein, then the Word is realized against it, and We destroy it utterly. S. 17:16
Allah commands men to sin in order to destroy them completely.
They (Jinns- demon spirits) worked for him (Solomon) as he desired … then when We decreed death upon him, nothing showed them his death except a little creeping creature of the earth, which gnawed away at his staff. And when he fell the Jinns saw clearly how, if they had known the unseen, they would not have continued in the humiliating penalty (of work). S. 34:13-14
Allah deceived the Jinns into working for Solomon by preventing the latter’s death from being disclosed to them, otherwise they would have stopped their work.
Allah also deceived both Christians and Jews into thinking that Jesus was crucified when in fact “it was so made to appear unto them”, seeing that he never was crucified or killed. S. 4:157
According to S. 9:51, nothing befalls Muslims except what Allah has ordained. And in S. 14:4, we are told,
“Allah leads astray whomsoever He will and guides whomsoever he will.”
“Whomsoever Allah guides, he is the one who follows the right way; and whomsoever He causes to err, these are the losers. And certainly We have created for hell many of the jinn and the men; … Whomsoever Allah causes to err, there is no guide for him; and He leaves them alone in their inordinacy, blindly wandering on.” S. 7:178-179, 186″If thy Lord had so willed, He could have made mankind one People: but they will not cease to differ. Except those on whom thy Lord hath bestowed His Mercy: and for this did He create them: and the Word of thy Lord shall be fulfilled: ‘I will fill Hell with Jinns and men all together.’” S. 11:118-119
Not only does Allah guide people astray, but also has created men specifically for hell. To make matters worse, he even ordains the evil one commits as we have already seen in S. 17:16 and further clarified by this Muslim tradition:
Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Apostle as saying:Verily Allah has fixed the very portion of adultery which a man will indulge in, and which he of necessity must commit (or there would be no escape from it).” Sahih Muslim #6421, 6422
To even imagine that Allah causes adultery is not only horrendous but disqualifies him from being the God of Moses.
A keen reader might raise the objection that the Bible itself indicates in several places that God had intended to do evil to certain nations and individuals such as Absalom in 2 Samuel 17:14. Or that Jeremiah had been deceived by God in Jeremiah 20:7:
“O LORD, thou hast deceived me and I was deceived.” King James Version
Firstly, in regard to 2 Sam. 17:14 as we had noted earlier God does not tempt anyone with moral evil in the form of sin but brings upon man calamity as a consequence of their sins. In fact, the term which the King James translates as evil is the Hebrew ra. Accordingly, some Hebrew scholars see it as being derived from the word ra’a which means to “break, smash, crush.” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testaments, p. 232)
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible gives various meanings some of which include adversity, affliction, calamity, distress, evil, grief (#7451 of the Hebrew Dictionary Section).
Thus, the evil God poured out upon these individuals was not immorality like that of the Quran but judgement upon the wicked due to their persistence in sin and a refusal to come into repentance.
The Hebrew term for deceive used in Jeremiah 20:7 is pathath. Strong’s lists it as #6601 in the Hebrew section with the following meanings; allure, enlarge, entice, deceive, flatter, persuade, silly. In light of the wide range of meanings, there is no reason to assume that Jeremiah meant that God was actually deceiving him.
In fact the context itself shows that the word can only mean “persuade” since Jeremiah is complaining that God is persuading him to continue his ministry, even though he doesn’t want to:
“O LORD, You induced me, and I was persuaded;
YOU ARE STRONGER THAN I, AND HAVE PREVAILED.
I am in derision daily;
Everyone mocks me.
For when I spoke, I cried out;
I shouted, ‘Violence and plunder!’
Because the word of the LORD was made to me
A reproach and a derision daily.
Then I said, ‘I will not make mention of Him,
Nor speak anymore in His name.’
But His word was in my heart like a burning fire
Shut up in my bones;
I was weary of holding it back,
And I could not.” Jeremiah 20:8-9 NKJV
God was therefore insisting that Jeremiah continue and did so by constant persuasion. This passage has nothing to do with deception whatsoever.
Another possible objection would be the King James rendering of Ezekiel 20:25 where God says to Israel that he “gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgements whereby they should not live.” This strongly suggests that God is the author of evil.
The context of the passage is referring to Israel’s reluctance in observing God’s holy commands, which prompted God to hand them over to their own desires (all of chapter 20).
Scripture clearly teaches that when God sees that a nation refuses to embrace the truth he has revealed, the Lord then hardens their hearts that they might continue in their wickedness. This is done that he might bring upon them the judgement that they deserve for their evil (c.f. Romans 1:18-32; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).
Therefore, God does not give them unholy commands but allows them to embrace statutes which are evil. This is the meaning of the Hebrew text as accurately reflected in the New King James Version:
“Therefore, I also gave them up to statutes that were not good, and judgements by which they could not live.”
Yet, the Arabic makara does not allow for other possible meanings. And the Quran itself gives examples of Allah using deception and sin to fulfill his will.
AUTHOR OF ABROGATION
According to the Quran Allah reveals a verse only to have it canceled out a short time later:
None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten but We substitute something better or similar- Knowest thou not that Allah has power over all things? S. 2:106When We substitute one revelation for another- and Allah knowest best what He reveals (in stages)- They say, “Thou art but a forger”; But most of them understand not. S. 16:101
This leaves us with the difficulty of having a God who does not remain consistent and often changes his revealed purpose. This being the case, how is one to know that the promises of such a Being in regard to eternal security can be trusted? Just as he changes his mind in relation to the revelation, he can also decide to change his mind in regard to the believer’s ultimate destiny without anything stopping him from doing so.
This is different from Yahweh of the Holy Bible who does not change and as such can be totally trusted in fulfilling all his promises:
God is not a man that he should lie, nor a son of man that he should repent. Has he said, and will he not do? Or has he spoken, and will he not make it good? Numbers 23:19For I, Yahweh, do not change. Malachi 3:6
If we are faithless, he remains faithful; he cannot deny himself. 2 Timothy 2:13
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8
Because the God of the Bible is immutable he can promise, “Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will never pass away” (Matthew 24:35).
Two responses can possibly be presented and often are by Muslims. The first is the fact that abrogation is not referring to the Quran but to previous scriptures such as the Bible.
Unfortunately for the Muslims making this argument, this interpretation cannot be defended in light of S. 87:6-8:
By degrees shall We teach thee (Muhammad) to declare (the Message) so thou shalt not forget, except as Allah Wills: For He knoweth what is manifest and what is hidden. And We will make it easy for thee (to follow) the simple (Path).
It becomes obvious that certain parts of the revelation given to Muhammad will eventually be caused to be forgotten, since Allah later willed it.
The second response often presented is that the Bible clearly speaks of God regretting to create man or having repented of bringing on a certain disaster which he had planned to do. (c.f. Genesis 6:6; Exodus 32:14)
There are basically two responses for this assumed Muslim allegation. First, both the Holy Bible and the Quran use anthropomorphic language in describing both the nature and acts of God. For instance, both books speak of God’s eyes, hands and feet without implying that these things are to be taken literally. The purpose of using such language is to communicate certain incomprehensible truths of God in human language in order for man to grasp certain realities of the divine nature. Hence, statements such as God having regrets is used to communicate certain realities to man in relational terms, i.e. that God identifies with our human condition and grieves for man’s fallen state, having compassion for him.
Secondly, the reason for indicating that God refrained from fulfilling an act he had decreed is an indication of his divine patience. God does not desire to destroy the wicked but to save them, desiring that they come into repentance:
Say to them: “As I live”, says the Lord God, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?” Ezekiel 33:11
Likewise, if a nation which has been promised prosperity turns to wickedness, God will also refrain from fulfilling his promises of blessing. This is pointed out in Jeremiah 18:7-10:
“The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster I thought to bring upon it.”And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and plant it, if it does evil in My sight, so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I would benefit it.”
An example of this is seen in I Kings 21:29 where God had sworn to destroy Ahab for his wickedness, but decided against it:
“See how Ahab has humbled himself before Me? Because he has humbled himself before Me, I will not bring the calamity in his days. In the days of his son, I will bring the calamity on his house.”Or God deciding not to destroy Ninevah after seeing their sincere repentance and humbleness:
“Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.” Jonah 3:10
These examples indicate that certain warnings are given specifically to lead the person(s) into right standing with God, and are not given as a sign that the matter has been sealed and there is no averting the disaster.
AUTHOR OF HISTORICAL ERRORS
The Quran contains historical errors which implies that Allah is not an Omniscient Being, since an all-knowing Being would be able to accurately recall historical events. Below is a list of just some of the many problems we find in the Quran.
- In S. 17:1 we are told that Muhammad was taken to the farthest Mosque, Masjid al-Aqsa. The problem with this is that the Aqsa Mosque had not been erected since Abd al-Malik only built it in AD 691. It cannot be referring to the Temple in Jerusalem since that was destroyed by the armies of the Roman general Titus in AD 70.
- S. 18:9-26 alludes to several men and their dog who slept for approximately 309 years only to be awakened in perfect condition.
- According to S. 18:83-98, Alexander the Great called Zhul Qarnain, “the Two Horned One,” was a Muslim who traveled till he found the Sun literally setting in a muddy spring. When we keep in mind that the title”the Two Horned One” was a title given to Alexander in pre-Islamic times, the Muslim attempts of trying to deny this fact utterly fails.
- According to S. 4:157 the unbelieving Jews boasted by saying, “We killed the Messiah Jesus the son of Mary, the apostle of Allah.” The only problem with this is that the unbelieving Jews never admitted that Jesus was Messiah and would not have killed him if they had believed that he was their long-awaited Messianic Deliverer. The unbelieving Jews had Jesus killed because they believed he was a false Messiah:
“And they began to accuse him, saying, ‘We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and CLAIMS to be Christ a king.’” Luke 23:2 NIV
- Christians are accused of worshiping Mary and Jesus as two gods apart from the true God:And behold! Allah will say: “O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, Worship me and my mother … ” S. 5:116Christ the son of Mary was no more than an apostle- many were the apostles that passed away before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They had both to eat their (daily) food. See how Allah doth make His Signs clear to them … S. 5:75In blasphemy indeed are those that say that Allah is Christ the son of Mary. Say: “Who then hath the least power against Allah, if His Will were to destroy Christ the son of Mary, his mother, and all – every one that is on the earth…” S. 5:17
This presumes that since Mary ate food and could be destroyed by Allah she could not possibly be divine. This gives the misleading impression that Christians believe that she is more than simply human.
In fact, the Quran proceeds to accuse Christians of worshiping three gods:
“They do blaspheme who say: Allah is the third of three (inallaaha thaalithu thalaatha)” S. 5:73″… so believe in Allah and His apostles. Say not three (thalaatha): desist: It will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah …” S. 4:171
According to Muslim biographer Ibn Ishaq in his work, Sirat Rasulullah, a Christian deputation from Najran came to debate Muhammad on the person of Jesus. Accordingly, these Christians allegedly believed that Jesus, “is God; and He is the son of God; and He is the third Person of the Trinity, which is the doctrine of Christianity.” (Alfred Guilliame trans., The Life of Muhammad [Oxford University Press, Karachi], p. 271)
He goes on to say, “They argue that he is the third of three in that God says: We have done, We have commanded, We have created and We have decreed, and they say, If He were one He would have said I have done, I have created, and so on, but He is He and Jesus and Mary. Concerning all these assertions the Quran came down.” (Ibid., pp. 271-272)
The errors in the Quranic teaching on what Christians believe becomes apparent to anyone familiar with the basics of Christian doctrine. Firstly, Christians have never taken Mary as a goddess alongside God. Secondly, Christians have never said God is three or the third of three which is tritheism, three separate gods forming a unity; as opposed to Trinity, ONE God who exists in Three distinct yet inseparable Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Thirdly, Christianity has never taught as part of its doctrine that Jesus is the third Person of the Trinity. Rather, he is the Second Person, with the Holy Spirit being the third Person of the Godhead. Matthew 28:19
Fourthly, Muslims believe that Allah of the Quran is the same as God the Father of the Holy Bible since they do not believe in God the Son, Jesus Christ, nor in God the Holy Spirit who to Muslims is the angel Gabriel. This again causes a problem since if Allah is indeed the same Person as God the Father then the Quran is wrong in saying that Christians believe that the Father is the third of three. Christians teach that the Father is the FirstPerson of the One True Godhead, not the third deity of three gods.
And finally, Christians do not believe that Allah is the Messiah, or that God is the Messiah since this implies that Jesus is the entire Godhead, which would be modalism. The correct and biblical statement is that Jesus is God, since this suggests that although Jesus is fully God by nature he is not the only Person who shares the essence of Deity perfectly. The Bible also teaches that both the Father and the Holy Spirit are fully God.
- Mary the Mother of Jesus is confused with Mary the sister of Aaron and Moses, the daughter of Amram:Behold! The wife of Imran (i.e. Amram) said, “O my Lord! I do dedicate unto thee what is in my womb”… When she was delivered, she said: “O my Lord! Behold! I am delivered of a female child … I have named her Mary… ” S. 3:35, 36″And Mary the daughter of Imran, who guarded her chastity..” S. 66:12.”… They said: O Mary! Truly an amazing thing hast thou brought! O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a man of evil, nor thy mother a woman unchaste.” S. 19:27-28
“Then Mary (Heb. Mariam), the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took the timbrel in her hand …” Exodus 15:20
“The name of Amram’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 26:59