Grace and Truth
08. GOOD NEWS FOR MUSLIMS
TRINITY 1 to 5 : Answering the Muslim accusation that God is not Father, Son and Holy Spirit
11 - WHY MUHAMMAD AND NOT CHRIST?
CHALLENGE: Muslims believe that God is neither Father, nor Son, nor Holy Spirit. Thus, they reject the testimony of the Gospel about the direct self-revelation of God, as it took place in Jesus Christ. Rather, they accept the testimony of Muhammad about the indirect revelation of God, as it is recorded in the Koran. The message of the Koran through Muhammad is taken by them to be true, but the message of Jesus Christ through the Gospel is taken by them to be a forgery of the Christians. Therefore Muslims invite Christians to no longer follow the Christ of the Gospels, but instead, the Koran of Muhammad. Can a Christian accept such an invitation? Should one follow the Koran of Muhammad and not Christ?
ANSWER: If we limit ourselves to the Koran alone, and compare what this fundamental book of Islam says about Christ, and what it says about Muhammad, we are astonished. In nearly all the relevant statements of the Koran, Christ is overwhelmingly superior to Muhammad:
Divine prophecies about Christ and about Muhammad: The birth of Christ was announced by the angels, but not the birth of Muhammad. Before his birth the angels said to Mary, his mother: “Truly Allah gives you good tidings of a Word from Him whose name is Christ 'Isa, the Son of Mary; highly esteemed in this world and in the hereafter, and one of those who were brought near (to Allah).” (Sura Al 'Imran 3:45) Christ is, thereby, the Word of God become flesh, while Muhammad only heard the Word of God.
The birth of Christ and the birth of Muhammad: Christ was born miraculously from the Virgin Mary, while Muhammad was fathered the natural way by his father Abdullah and was born by his mother Amina. Christ is unique among mankind in that His Father was no human being. Rather, Christ was begotten when God placed His Word in Mary and breathed of His Spirit into her: “Truly, Christ 'Isa, the Son of Mary, is the Messenger of Allah, and His Word that He placed in Mary.” (Sura al-Nisa' 4:171) “And she who guarded her private parts (i.e. Mary)! Then we (i.e. Allah) breathed into her of Our Spirit and made her and her son to be a (miraculous) sign for the worlds.” (Sura al-Anbiya' 21:91; see also Sura 66:12)
The righteousness of Christ and the righteousness of Muhammad: Christ is sinless and he never committed any sin, while Muhammad had to ask for the forgiveness of his sins. According to the Koran, all men have sinned, even all the prophets and messengers of Allah, except for Christ (and possibly also Yahya = John the Baptist, cf. Sura Maryam 19:13). Regarding Christ, a messenger of Allah said to Mary, his mother: “I am the messenger of your Lord, to give you a pure (i.e. sinless) boy.” (Sura Maryam 19:19) In contrast, Muhammad was commanded to ask for the forgiveness of his sins: “Know therefore that there is no god but Allah, and ask forgiveness for your sin-guilt …” (Sura Muhammad 47:19; see also 40:55; 94:1-3 and 48:1-2) This command of Allah presupposes that Muhammad has sinned.
The inspiration of Christ and the inspiration of Muhammad: Christ is the Word of God itself, while Muhammad only received the word of Allah through the angel Gabriel. Christ needed no intermediary to receive the Word of God, for this Word was in Him from the very beginning, because he is the Word of God become flesh. (Sura 3:45) Therefore, the Koran says of Him: “That is 'Isa, the Son of Mary, the true Word, concerning whom they dispute.” (Sura Maryam 19:34) Muhammad, on the other hand, always received the word of Allah just conveyed to him by the angel Gabriel. These experiences tended to exhausted him: at times he was almost in a coma when he received an inspiration, or he appeared to be drunk, or he was struck with deep seated fear. According to the Koran, Allah never spoke directly with Muhammad. God, however, personally taught Christ the Book, the Wisdom, the Torah, and the Gospel (Sura 3:48).
The miracles of Christ and the miracles of Muhammad: Christ healed men and raised the dead, while the miracles of Muhammad are only words - which today are compiled in the Koran. The Koran summarizes the miraculous deeds of Christ: “I (Christ) have come to you with a miraculous sign from your Lord, that I will create for you out of clay something like birds; then I will breathe into it, and it will be birds, by Allah's permission; and I heal the blind and the leper, and I bring to life the dead, by Allah's permission.” (Sura Al 'Imran 3:49; see also 5:111) Such miracles were never performed by Muhammad. About him the Koran only says: “He (Allah) is the one, who sent a messenger to the peoples from among them, who recites to them His miraculous signs (i.e. Koran verses) ….” (Sura al-Jum'a 62:2; see also 2:99)
The death of Christ and the death of Muhammad: The death of Christ was foretold in the Koran by Allah. The death of Muhammad, however, was not foretold by Allah. Christ died in accordance with God's plan, for God said to him before he passed away: “O 'Isa, I am about to let you pass away and raise you up to Me.” (Sura Al 'Imran 3:55) Nowhere in the Koran is anything similar found of Muhammad. According to the Sira (biography) of Ibn Hisham, Muhammad was poisoned by Jews; he spit the poison out and survived; but later on he died in fever from the delayed effects of the poison.
Christ after his death and Muhammad after his death: Christ, after his death, ascended alive to heaven, where he lives today until his second coming at the end of time. Muhammad, however, is dead, lies buried in his mosque in Medina and will play no role at the end times. Of Christ it is written: “Allah lifted him up to Himself!” (Sura al-Nisa' 4:158; see also 3:55) Therefore Christ is “esteemed in this world and in the hereafter, one of those brought near (to Allah).” (Sura Al 'Imran 3:45) The Koran does not say such things about Muhammad. He lies dead, buried in Medina. Vast numbers of Muslims go on pilgrimage to his tomb. Christ, however, lies in no grave.
GOOD NEWS: Christ is the Word of God become flesh. He was born of a virgin, was full of mercy, and without sin. He healed men, raised the dead, and today lives in heaven with God. He alone is worthy to be followed.
TESTIMONY: My name is Aliyu and I live in Nigeria. When I was still a Muslim, I tried to destroy Christianity in my country. I had at my disposition a lot of money, numerous comrades-in-arms, and best connections to government officials and local sultans. We struggled long to battle the hated religion of Jesus. Yet our plans never succeeded. I had the feeling as though a hidden hand was over the Christians in Nigeria that hindered us from doing any serious harm to them. -- I knew the Koran by heart, and had noticed again and again that in the Koran Christ stood higher than Muhammad. -- Because I was afraid that other Muslims might contest my position, I opened myself up to dark and hidden powers to protect myself. I knew that I was on my way to hell, because I made use of the demonic powers of darkness. -- In the end, I was desperate. I sought a Christian pastor before whom I could confess my sins and receive salvation in Jesus. Most of them, however, were afraid of me, for they knew I was their enemy. When I finally found one and committed my life to Jesus it was as though a huge mountain of guilt fell from my shoulders. For the first time in my life I experienced Christ as the fountain of light. “The supremacy of the light over the power of darkness” became the motto of my life. Many Muslims have tried to kill me, but I am still alive and I call on them everywhere to follow him who is stronger than Muhammad.
PRAYER: God of light and of salvation, I believe that you are stronger than the forces of darkness. You have sent Christ into the world that we might know you and be saved. Show me the way to you, and let me experience your light and your salvation.
FOR MEMORIZATION: “You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:43-45 -- Words of Christ, the Son of Mary)