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Quran, sura 21:25-29 "Every messenger we sent before you was instructed to preach that there is no god except Me; you shall worship Me alone. Then they said, 'God most gracious has begotten a son. 'Glory be to Him; all the messengers are no more than honored servants. They do not speak on their own; they simply follow His commands. He knows their past and their future, and they possess no power to intercede except on behalf of those already approved by God. The messengers themselves are worried about their own fate. And, if any of them claims to be a god beside God, we will punish him in hell; we thus punish the wicked."
The above sura from the Quran (Koran), appears to represent the most definitive difference between Christianity and Islam (Submission). In Christianity, Jesus, the Christ, the Annointed, is given a status almost identical with God the Father.
Other verses qualify the distinction between the Father and Son more clearly. But, the Bible, in Jesus' own words clearly declares that Jesus is the Way. He is to be followed, He is to be recognized as the God-man.
The Quran states that Muhammad was a messenger, the vehicle through which the Quran was given. But, since the time of Muhammad, much Islamic tradition has placed Muhammad as a god-man. But in fact the Quran states exactly the opposite as seen above in Sura 21:25-29. The Quran is said to have been dictated to Mohammad by the angel Gabriel over a period of 22 years. The Hadith & Sunna are auxilary works which are the words and actions of Muhammad. At least one Islamic scholar, Rashad Khalifa, Ph.D. in his book, "Quran, Hadith, and Islam" makes this clear distinction between the purportedly "divine" book of the Quran, and the secular, historical, human accounts of Mohammad in the Hadith and Sunna. Dr. Khalifa supports his thesis through the Quran itself that Muhammad was the messenger, not God; that he was a fallible and imperfect man whose life was not the perfect pattern for humanity. Dr. Kalifa wished to make the point that Muhammad was not to be worshiped, he was not divine, and could not operate in the spiritual realm to intercede for the Islamic believer.
Dr. Khalifa correctly brings Muhammad down to his proper place of being only human, but he errs in his declaration that Jesus is likewise human The Quran declares that none are divine except the one God, just as the Bible declares that none other are divine except God and Jesus. This conflict will never be resolved on the level of agreement. The two religions hold mutually exclusive declarations of Truth. As a result, little can be done except to coexist peacefully, or use various forms of apologetics, reason, and witness to attempt to convince and enroll the followers of the opposing religion.
Coexisting peacefully with Quranic Islam should present little difficulty. But, several Militant Islamic sects have formed under the inspiration of various Islamic philosophers (e.g. Muhammad Wahhabe, c. 1792). The Quran on its surface appears to be a religion of peace and good will toward one's fellow man. The Quran recommends tolerance of other religions until attacked. The Quran clearly states that unbelievers (Christians and Jews, people of the Book) will go to hell. The Quran of course places itself as the final revelation and superior to the Old Testament of Abraham and the New Testament of Jesus. Such self-elevating status is common to almost all religions.
The question is then, what is the actual value and effect of being a Muslim? (Note: the meaning of the word Muslim is: "one who practices submission to God"; and the word Islam means "submission to God".) It appears that when practiced in its pure Quranic form, that Islam, minus the Hadith and Sunnas, is fairly benign. Its practitioners attempt to worship the one true god in their own way, following the precepts of their scripture. If Islam retained only these beneficent patterns, it would take its place in the spectrum of human religions as simply another alternative religion.
The central deficiency of a Quran-based Islam is its lack of a divine intercessor. Many religions place their prophet, messenger, founder in the position of Intercessor between god and man. But such an exalted role appears hollow when we note that every prophet has died, leaving his body in the ground. The one exception to this rule is Jesus the Christ. He claimed to be God, and the Son of God. Jesus claimed that his sacrifice enabled entrance into the presence of the God Most High, His Father.
Christianity provides the opportunity to call on a Savior with true power and authority in both Heaven and on Earth. Therein lies the fundamental distinction between Quranic Islam and Biblical Christianity. Jesus/The Son/The Word, created the entire manifest universe. He was born into it. He lived a perfect sinless life (a life without violation of God's Law and walked perfectly as the Father directed Him). He was wrongfully accused of capital offense, tortured, crucified, and died. God's power, and Jesus' own righteousness under the Law of God, raised up Jesus to physical life. He later translated His body and spirit into Heaven. As a true spiritual master, as the creator of the universe, as the Son of God, as the one and only God-man, who suffered unrighteously at the hands of those who sought to torture and kill Him, Jesus can take authority over the death sentence on our lives. We are all condemned by our violation of God's perfect Law.
Each person must decide whether the claims of Christ are true. If the promises of Christ are true, then the Christian has power over hell simply by appropriating the Free gift of God that is available through Jesus. If the claims are false, the religion is of little value. But the comparison between Islam and Christianity is clear. Christianity offers the possibility of restoring a relationship with God that was broken by sin. Jesus as the mediator functions as a buffer between a perfectly loving, and perfectly lawful God. Such a function truly is necessary for free will to exist in this universe. If the most high God cannot tolerate, see, or participate in evil, then every man must have an advocate before a perfect God. The Quran makes statements of self-declared authenticity, accuracy, and final revelation, but even if this were true, the practitioner is left only with a set of rules about life and relationship with God which must be maintained by practicing many rules. The method of attaining a sufficiently perfect life to enter into an eternity with God remains unclear, other than to follow all the rules.
As a point of comparison, Jesus lived a perfect sinless life, fulfilled 400 prophecies from the Old Testament, He performed miracles, including raising the dead, and rising from the dead.
Muhammad, The Prophet, on the other hand, was simply a man. He had 22 wives including a young girl (accounts vary, but it appears that she was between 6 and 9 years old). In this he violated his own Qur'an which allows 4 wives. There are scholars and doubters who have made a great study of this subject and have elaborated many charges to challenge his divinity. The validity of such accusations of humanity, fallibility, and mortality are heartily disputed or rationalized by those who follow the Islamic religion. Every man wishes to believe that his conceptualization of God is valid and that he has chosen the correct path to fellowship and unity with the one True God. In fact, God has given each person the ability to hear and know the voice of the Holy Spirit who witnesses to the Truth. Each man will be accountable and stand alone. We must each take our opportunity and responsibility to determine the truth seriously. There is value in sincerity, but greater value in Truth.
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