Article by Sam Shamoun
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 regards 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-Khan
And (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 regards 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. 2:106
When 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 regards 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 regards 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 23:19
For 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.
"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
And behold! Allah will say: "O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, Worship me and my mother ... " S. 5:116
Christ 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. 5:75
In 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 First Person 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.
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 27:59
This is an error of nearly 1400 years! How could Moses' sister Mary be Jesus' mother, making Moses his uncle?
Muslims give two responses in trying to deal with this anachronism. First, it is stated that the expressions "sister of Aaron" and "daughter of Amram" refers to Mary's lineage, i.e. that Mary was a descendant of Aaron and Amram of the tribe of Levi. Unfortunately for Muslims, this assertion cannot possibly be the case since Mary was a daughter of Judah and a descendant of David:
"Now Jesus Himself began his ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed the son of Joseph, the son of Heli ... the son of David ... the son of Judah." Luke 3:23, 31, 33
The words, "as was supposed," are given to clarify the fact that it is Mary's genealogy which is being presented, with Joseph acting as the male representative. This is supported by extrabiblical documents such as the Jewish tractate of the Talmud, Chagigah, where a certain person had a dream in which he saw the punishment of the damned. There, "He saw Mary the daughter of Heli amongst the shades." ( John Lightfoot, Commentary On the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica [Oxford University Press, 1859; with a second printing from Hendrickson Publishers Inc., 1995], vol. 1, p. v; vol. 3, p.55)
In the book of Hebrews we are told that, "it is evident that our Lord ( Jesus ) arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood" Heb. 7:14.
"I ( Jesus ) am the Root and Offspring of David, the Bright Morning Star." Revelation 22:16
It is therefore impossible for Mary to be a descendant of Levi, since both the orthodox Jewish understanding and the biblical record agree that Messiah would arise out of Judah (c.f. Genesis 49:10-12; Matthew 22:42-45).
Someone might interject at this point and suggest that the Bible calls Elizabeth a relation of Mary:
"Now, indeed, Elizabeth your relative also conceived a son in her old age..." Luke 1:36 NKJV
This seems to imply that Mary is of Levitical descent, since Elizabeth is addressed as one of Aaron's descendants. (Cf. Luke 1:5)
The term used for relative in the Greek is syngenes. Gerhard Kittel and Gerhard Friedrich define it as:
a. " The adjective refers to a person of common origin, i.e., belonging to the same family, race, tribe, or people. It can then mean 'related' in disposition, 'corresponding', 'analogous', or 'similar.'
b. The noun means 'relationship' by descent or disposition, then more broadly 'analogy' (e.g. between deity and humanity, or ideas and the senses, or the stars and human destiny), whether in philosophy or popular belief." (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, abridged in one volume by George W. Bromiley [Eerdmans, 1985], p. 1097)
Hence, Elizabeth and Mary were related in the sense of being of the same race of people, i.e. the Israelites. But this meaning seems to be unlikely since this could be said about any other Israelite woman's relationship to Mary. It seems more likely that Elizabeth and Mary were blood relatives. This being the case, this still wouldn't prove that Mary was of the tribe of Aaron. All this would prove is that Elizabeth had Judean blood in her, since Levites were allowed to marry women from any of the twelve tribes:
"The woman he (the Levitical Priests) marries must be a virgin. He must not marry a widow, a divorced woman, or a woman defiled by prostitution, but only a virgin from his people." Leviticus 21:13-14 NIV
Ezekiel, in his vision of a restored priesthood and temple, further clarifies this point:
"They shall not marry a widow or a divorced woman, but only virgins of the offspring OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL, or a widow who is the widow of a priest." Ezekiel 44:22 ESV
The Holy Bible even provides an example of a priest who had married a woman from Judea, who was actually a descendant of king David:
"Now when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the royal family of the house of Judah. But Jehoshabeath, the daughter of the king, took Joash the son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the king's sons who were about to be put to death, and she put him and his nurse in a bedroom. Thus Jehoshabeath, the daughter of King Jehoram and wife of Jehoiada the priest, because she was a sister of Ahaziah, hid him from Athaliah, so that she did not put him to death." 2 Chronicles 22:10-11
The foregoing demonstrates the plausibility of Elizabeth's mother being from the line of David, from the tribe of Judah, accounting for her being related to Mary.
Elizabeth could also be an aunt to Mary, see the entry on Luke 1:36 in the Bible Commentary section.
Muslims are not to be blamed for taking the phrase "brother of" as a reference to Mary's lineage since Muhammad also used a similar line of reasoning to cover up this error. In Sahih Muslim Mughirah ibn Shu'bah narrates:
"When I came to Najran, they (the Christians of Najran) asked me: You read ‘sister of Harun' (i.e., Mary), in the Quran, whereas Moses was born well before Jesus. When I came back to Allah's Messenger I asked him about that, and he said: ‘The (people of old age) used to give names (to their persons) after the names of Apostles and pious persons who had gone before them.'" #5326
Ibn Abi Ahaybah and Ahmad and Abdel Hameed and Muslim and At-Tirmidhi and An-Nassaa'I and Ibn Al-Mundhir and Ibn Abi Haatim and Ibn Hibbaan and At-Tabaraani and Ibn Mardaweih ans Al-Bayhaqi in ad-dalaa'il, narrated that Al-Mughirah Ibn Shu'bah said: "The Prophet of God (PBUH) sent me to the people of Najran. They asked me: DO you see what you read? O sister of Harun while Moses precedes Jesus with such a long time? He (Al-Mughirah) said: So I went back to the Prophet and mentioned that to him. He told me: "Would you tell them the folk used to be called after Prophets and pious people who preceded them?" (Jalaaluddeen As-Suyuti, Ad-durr Al-Manthur)
The only difficulty with Muhammad's statement is that the Jews before and during the time of Christ never used this phrase in this manner at all. Not one single reference from the Bible, either Old or New Testaments, the Jewish literature before the birth of Christ, or even the Jewish Talmud and Targums after Christ can be found to support Muhammad's assertion. This is simply a gross error which cannot be swept away.
The second argument is actually a clarification of the first in that it is suggested that both the Bible and the Quran furnish further evidence for the term "sister of" being used to imply ancestry:
"His (Zechariah) wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth." Luke 1:5
It is obvious that the term "daughters" is speaking of Elizabeth's lineage and is not to be taken to literally mean that her father was actually Aaron the brother of Moses.
Again it is unfortunate for Muslims that this argument does not help them, but actually serves to weaken their argument. Although the Bible does use the phrases "son of," or "daughter of" to refer to ancestry, it never uses the terms "brother of" or "sister of" to indicate this fact. A few examples of the former usage include:
"So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound- think of it - for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath'?" Luke 13:16
"And Jesus said to him, 'Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham." Luke 19:9
"And behold, two blind men sitting by the road, when they heard that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, 'Have mercy on us, 0 Lord, Son of David.' " Matthew 20:30
Scripture never addresses a person as a "brother of Abraham," or "sister of David" when wishing to imply lineage. Hence, the Muslim position cannot be defended biblically.
The second example is from the Quran where Salih is called Thamud's brother:
"We sent ( aforetime ) to the Thamud, their brother Salih ..." S. 27:45
The term brother here refers to kinsmen, not actual bloodbrothers, exemplifying the many different ways the term is used.
Once again the problem is far from being resolved since the term "brother" is used to address Salih's contemporaries, not his ancestors. This implies that to call Mary Aaron's sister meant that Mary and Aaron were contemporaries, living at the same time.
Unlike the Quran, the Holy Bible contains no historical errors. Most attacks on the Bible stem from arguments from silence, i.e. the fact that no independent archeological research has been discovered in support of certain recorded biblical events. Yet, such arguments only prove that as of yet archeology has failed to furnish evidence against an event reported in the Bible. Other attacks center on the precise dating of certain archeological findings which some see as contradicting the Holy Bible's chronology. Again, one cannot say that the Holy Bible is in error when archeologists themselves are divided over the precise dating of certain discoveries. This is especially so when one realizes that there are certain archeologists who provide evidence which they feel proves that the data corresponds perfectly with the Bible's chronology of the events in question.
This is far different from archeology providing evidence to show that certain events did not occur in the same manner in which the Bible says it did. In fact, not one archeological discovery has ever proven the Bible wrong; discovery after discovery has demonstrated the amazing historical accuracy of scripture. The following quotations from the world's leading archeologists affirms this fact:
"Nowhere has archeological discovery refuted the Bible as history." ( John Elder, Prophets, Idols and Diggers [New York; Bobs Merrill, 1960], p. 16 )
"Near Eastern archeology has demonstrated the historical and geographical reliability of the Bible in many important areas. By clarifying the objectivity and factual accuracy of biblical authors, archeology also helps correct the view that the Bible is avowedly partisan and subjective. It is now known, for instance, that, along with the Hittites, Hebrew scribes were the best historians in the entire ancient Near East, despite contrary propaganda that emerged from Assyria, Egypt, and elsewhere." (E. M. Blaiklock, editor's preface, New International Dictionary of Biblical Archeology [Grand Rapids, MI; Regency Reference Library/ Zondervan, 1983], pp. vii-viii)
The late William F. Albright, one of the world's foremost archeologists, stated:
"There can be no doubt that archeology has confirmed the substantial historicity of Old Testament tradition." (J. A. Thompson, The Bible and Archeology [Grand Rapids, MI; Eerdmans, 1975], p. 5)
Nelson Glueck, world renowned archeologist, concurs: "As a matter of fact, however, it maybe clearly stated categorically that no archeological discovery has ever controverted a single biblical reference. Scores of archeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or exact detail historical statements in the Bible." ( Norman Geisler & Ron Brooks, When Skeptics Ask; A Handbook on Christian Evidences [Wheaton, IL; Victor, 1990], p. 179)
It should be noted that both Albright and Glueck were not conservative Christians and did not believe in the inspiration of scripture. Their conclusions were based strictly on the archeological data, forcing them to make the above admissions.
This cannot be said of the Quran with all of its historical and scientific mistakes.
AUTHOR OF CARNAL PLEASURES
The Quranic paradise is totally different from the biblical portrait of heaven. In Allah's paradise, we find sexual and carnal pleasures for believers to engage in throughout eternity:
But give glad tidings to those who believe and work righteousness, that their portions is Gardens, beneath which rivers flow, every time they are fed with fruits therefrom, they say: "Why, this is what we were fed with before," for they are giving things in similitude; And they have therein damsels (Arabic - Houris ) pure (and holy); and they abide therein (forever)." S. 2:25
But to those who believe and do deeds of righteousness, We shall soon admit to Gardens, with rivers flowing beneath, their eternal home. Therein they have damsels pure and holy; We shall admit them to shades, cool and ever deepening. S. 4:57
Of a rare creation have We created the Houris, and We have made them ever virgins, dear to their spouses, of equal age with them for the people of the right hand. S. 56:35-38
But for those who fear Allah is a blissful abode, enclosed gardens and vineyards, and damsels with swelling breasts (Arabic - Kawa'eb), their peers in age, and a full cup. S. 78:31-34 (Arberry and Rodwell translate this part correctly, see also this overview page)
The orthodox Islamic understanding of these references are that Muslim men shall have a host of swelling breasted maidens to engage in sex with, who return to their virginal state after intercourse.
The paradise of Yahweh is one that is devoid of such carnality, being filled with the infinite love and joy of God instead. Hence, the believers' reward is to dwell with God forever in eternal glory:
"Jesus answered and said to them, 'The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are counted worthy to attain that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; nor can they die anymore for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection." Luke 20:34-36
"The kingdom of God is not food or drink, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." Romans 14:17
"And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, 'Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." Revelation 21:3-4
AUTHOR OF FOREIGN WORDS
The Quran claims to be in pure Arabic speech:
We have sent it down as an Arabic Quran, in order that ye may learn wisdom. S. 12:2
"An Arabic Quran, wherein there is no crookedness..." S. 9:28
And We know very well that they say, "Only a mortal is teaching him." The speech of him at whom they hint is barbarous- and this is Arabic, pure and clear. S. 16:103
But according to Arabic scholars the Quran is not in pure Arabic, containing dozens of foreign words:
Abariq, S. 56:18, Persian
Adam, S. 2:34, Akkadian
Araik, S. 18:31, Persian
Firdaus, S. 18:107, Pahlavi
Fir'awn, S. 73:15, Syriac
Habr, S. 9:31, Hebrew (Haver)
Istabraq, S. 18:31, Persian (Istabar)
Sakina, S. 2:248, Hebrew
Sijjil (baked clay), S. 105:4, Persian
Taghut (idols), S. 2:257, Syriac (Teghutha)
Zakat, S. 2:110, Syriac (Zkhutha)
Zanjabil (ginger), S. 76:17, Pahlavi
Muslims respond by presuming that all living languages adopt words from other cultures, and it is therefore not an error for the Quran to contain foreign words. This argument only works in regard to imperfect human beings who continually adopt and adapt to other cultures and customs.
Unfortunately for Muslims, this argument will not work for an all-powerful Being who is the Originator of human language. Such a Being is capable of inspiring his word in perfect Arabic completely devoid of foreign words, especially when he himself states that the Quran is in pure Arabic. This is even more so in light of the claim that the Quran is the eternal speech of God, i.e. that the Quran existed (on an eternal tablet) before the creation of human language. How can God's speech contain foregin words when these foreign languages did not exist in eternity? As one Muslim writer stated:
The Qur'an itself repeatedly asserts that it is a unique and inimitable "Arabic Qur'an" (12.2, 13.37, 16.103) in order to communicate its meaning in a perfect manner to a people who took great pride in the expressive quality of their language. Much of the early discussion about the linguistic components of the Qur'an centred on the presence, or otherwise, of non-Arabic words in it - of course, based on the premise that it was essentially an Arabic text. The verses referred to above became the key supportive texts for those who argued that the Qur'an did not contain any non-Arabic terms. The earliest exegetes, particularly those associated with 'Abd Allah ibn 'Abbas (d. 68/67-68), a cousin of Muhammad, freely discussed a large number of non-Arabic words in the Qur'an. Hadith literature credits Ibn 'Abbas and "his school" with having a special interest in seeking their origin and meaning. Later eminent scholars of the Qur'an such as the philologist/exegete Abu 'Ubayd (d. 838), however continued to argue that the Qur'an contained foreign words. Others such as Ibn 'Atiyyah (d. 541/1146), Suyuti (d. 911/1505), and 'Abd al-Rahman al-Tha'labi (d. 1468) tried to reconcile theology with linguistic principles. They argued that the foreign words in the Qur'an came into Arabic through the ancient Arab's contacts with other languages in foreign travel and commerce but that they had been thoroughly Arabized by the time of the Prophet [Sam- If this were so then there would have been no need to highlight the fact that these foreign words had become part of the language since this would have been common knowledge to native Arab speakers like Ibn Abbas. That an explanation was needed to explain why foreign words appear in the Quran demonstrates how weak this Muslim claim actually is!] Various theories were evolved to resolve THE CONTRADICTION between the notion ascribed to Ibn 'Abbas and the one which subsequently gained greater acceptance, i.e., that the Qur'an does not contain any foreign terminology. To deal with the actual occurrence of words in the Arabic language that were also found in non-Arabic languages, some of these scholars, such as Muhammad ibn Idris al-Shafi (d. 204/819) and Tabari, developed the notion of tawafuq (coincidence). They argued that both Arabic and other languages employ the same words with identical meanings and that this uniformity of meaning was purely coincidental.
The idea of any language or discourse being absolutely free from expressions or words used in another language is alien to one of the most basic linguistic principles, i.e., the inter-relatedness of human speech. While this may sound trite, two factors, however, ensured that this notion was rejected by the "orthodoxy": first, the Qur'an IS NOT REALLY REGARDED AS HUMAN SPEECH BUT RATHER GOD'S AND GOD'S SPEECH CANNOT BE SUBJECTED TO ANY LINGUISTIC PRINCIPLES. Indeed, as is commonly known, Qur'anic Arabic became the standard of Arabic grammar. (The problem of God's speech of necessity having to coincide with human speech for effect and meaning remains.) Second, for the "orthodoxy", God's own eternalness and self-subsistence fused with those of His revelation. The Qur'an and its language thus came to be viewed as equally timeless and independent of any "non-divine" elements, non-Arabic included. The fact of God's revelation occurring in Arabic (or any other language for that matter) alongside the insistence that this is the unmediated medium which was used by God raises an interesting question: If all comprehensible language and speech is the result of social interaction THEN DOES THIS IMPLY THAT GOD IS ALSO 'LIMITED' OR CONFINED TO THE LIMITATIONS OF LANGUAGE? If so, then WHAT DOES THIS IMPLY FOR THE ALL-POWERFUL NATURE OF GOD? (Farid Esack, The Qur'an - A Short Introduction [Oneworld Publications, Oxford 2002], pp. 68-69; bold and capital emphasis mine)
Not only does the Quran contain foreign words, but according to Arabic grammarians it also contains grammatical mistakes:
The Qor'an contains sentences which are incomplete and not fully intelligible without the aid of commentaries; foreign words, unfamiliar Arabic words, and words used with other than the normal meaning, adjectives and verbs inflected without observance of the concords of gender and number- illogically and ungrammatically applied pronouns which sometimes have no referent- and predicates which in rhymed passages are often remote from the subjects ... To sum up, more than one hundred Qor'anic aberrations from the normal rules and structures have been noted... ( Ali Dashti, 23 Years: A Study of the Prophetic Career of Muhammad [Costa Mesa, Ca. 1994; Mazda Publishers], pp. 48, 50)
A few examples include the following passages:
Arabic - "inna rahmata Allahi qaribun min al-mohseneen."
The word qaribun is the predicate of rahmata Allahi, and as such should match in gender. Since rahmata is feminine the word qaribun (which is masculine ) should be qaribah, its feminine form.
Arabic - "wa qata'nahom 'ethnata 'ashrata asbatan."
In Arabic, any noun which is counted by a number above ten should be singular, as is the case in S. 7:142; 2:60; 5:12; 9:36; 12:4. As such the Arabic asbatan should be sebtan.
Arabic- "Innal-laziina 'aamanuu wal-laziina haaduu was-Saabi'uuna wan-Nasaara man'amaana bilaahi wal-Yawmil Aakhiri wa 'amila saali-hanfalaa khaw-fun 'alay-him wa laa hum yah-zanuun."
According to scholars, the Arabic Saabi'uuna has been wrongly declined. Compare the same grammatical structure found in the following suras:
S. 2:62- "Innal-laziina 'aamanuu wal-laziina haaduu wan-Nasaara was-Saabi'iina..."
S. 22:17- "Innal-laziina 'aamanuu wal-laziina haaduu was-Saabi'iina wan-Nasaara..."
In the last two suras the term was declined correctly, Saabi'iina, as opposed to Saabi'uuna. This is due to the word inna found in the beginning of the sentence causing a form of declension called "nasb" (as in the cases of accusative or subjunctive) with the "yeh" being the "sign of nasb". But the word Saabi'uuna is given the case of 'uu, a sign of "rafa" ( as in cases of nominative and indicative ). Accordingly, the verse in 5:69 is wrong.
Arabic- "was-samaaa-i wa maa ba-naahaa."
The word ma is impersonal in Arabic. Yet, the subject of the verse is Allah, heaven's Creator. As such the word man, meaning "him who", should have been used instead of the impersonal ma.
It should be pointed out that it is not only Arabic scholars who have discovered dozens of grammatical mistakes within the Quran, but Muhammad's very own companions in the past have also admitted this fact. The Muslim scholar Ibn al-Khatib in his book al Furqan quotes Muhammad's wife Aisha as saying:
"There are three grammatical errors in the Book of Allah, they are the fault of the scribe: In 20:63 ... And in 5:69 ... And in 4:162." (Muhammad M. abd al-Latif Ibn al-Khatib, Al-Furqan [Dar al-Kutub al-Elmiyah, Beirut], p. 91)
After seeing the first standard copy of the Quran, Islam's third Caliph Uthman proclaimed, "I see grammatical errors in it, and the Arabs will read it correctly with their tongues." (Ibid., p.90)
For the Quran to be the word of Allah and for Allah to be God one should find no grammatical mistakes, especially since Muslims claim that the Quran contains no human element whatsoever. Muslim view is that the Quran was dictated word for word to Muhammad, which implies that Allah is the Author of these grammatical errors. This disqualifies Allah from being God, especially Yahweh God of the Holy Bible.
To avoid this problem, Muslims assert that the Quran was revealed in a style called balaagha, which is an eloquent method of expressing the Arabic. Due to this feature, the Quran is not required to be grammatically correct since its aim is at eloquence.
Once again this assumption serves to undermine the Muslim position. It may be true that a document written by man cannot be both grammatically correct and still retain an optimum level of eloquence, since a human writer most often sacrifices one literary feature over the other. But this cannot be said of God since he can easily produce a book which contains both perfect grammar and eloquence without ever sacrificing one for the other. This the Quran fails to do.
ALLAH AND OATHS
A real point of difference between Allah and Yahweh is that Yahweh swears by himself, since there is nothing greater for him to swear by:
For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself. Hebrews 6:13
For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. Hebrews 6:16
Hence, every time God makes a pledge he swears only by himself to insure believers that he will do all that he promises:
"I have sworn by Myself; the word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that to Me every knee shall bow..." Isaiah 45:23
"I swear by Myself, says the LORD." Jeremiah 22:5
Yet, Allah swears by things less than him:
Swears by the Quran
By the Quran, full of wisdom. S. 36:2
By the Quran, full of admonition. S. 38:1
Swears by the sky and constellations
By the sky and the night visitant S. 86:1
Nay verily: By the moon, and by the night as it retreateth, and by the dawn as it shines forth. S. 74:32-34
By the star when it goes down. S. 53:1
Swears by the pen
By the pen and by the record which [men] write. S. 68:1
Swears by the city
Nay I do swear by this city. S. 90:1
Swears by the Creation
By the night as it cancels [the light]; by the day as it appears in glory; by the Creation of male and female. S. 92:1-3
The fact that Allah swears by practically anything and everything, while Yahweh swears only by himself, makes it very difficult for the two to be the one and the same God.
ALLAH IS NOT TRIUNE
The final proof that Allah is not Yahweh Elohim of the Holy Bible is that Allah is not a trinity. According to the Holy Bible, there is only One true God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Galatians 3:20).
Yet, at the same time Scripture affirms that this One God eternally exists in three Persons:
"...elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father..." 1 Peter 1:2
"... looking for that blessed hope and glorious appearing of our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ..." Titus 2:13
The Holy Spirit
"But Peter said, 'Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit... you have not lied to men but to God." Acts 5:3-4
Three in One
"... baptizing them in the Nam e(singular- implying unity) of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit..." Matthew 28:19
But the Allah of the Quran is not any of the three Persons mentioned above. For example S. 112 states,
Say: He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, The Eternal, Absolute-, He begetteth not, Nor is He Begotten; And there is none like unto Him. S. 112: 1-4
Allah does not "beget" meaning that Allah has no children either in a spiritual or carnal sense. Thus, Allah can never be the Father. Nor does he allow himself to be "begotten", i.e. does not take on human nature such as God the Son did when he became man for our salvation. Finally, in orthodox Islam the Holy Spirit is not God, but the angel Gabriel. This fact separates Allah from ever possibly being the same God that Christians worship.
Furthermore, we read in I John 2:22-23:
"Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is Antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also."
Thus, to the Christians Allah cannot be the biblical God since the inspired New Testament record teaches that anyone denying the Father and Son as God is Antichrist.
One common Muslim allegation needs to be briefly addressed before concluding. In Exodus 31:17 it says that after Yahweh created the universe, he rested on the Sabbath and was refreshed. This description is not befitting God since he never fatigues nor does he need to be refreshed.
In response to this, as we have already noted scripture often uses anthropomorphic language in describing God's relations with man. The context of this passage deals with the necessity of Sabbath observance as a sign between God and Israel, and as such God is speaking to his covenant people in relational terms.
Just as God rested on the seventh day, it is important for Israel to do likewise especially in light of the fact that they are the chosen people of God and must imitate him by observing all his commands.
Furthermore, the term for Sabbath in Hebrew is shabat. It is listed in Strong's as #7673 with the following meanings: to stop, to cease, to rest, to end. Also, the term "refreshed" doesn't necessarily mean that God needed to take a breather after creating the universe anymore than the expression "my heart was refreshed" implies fatigue. Rather, it refers to God rejoicing over the goodness of his creation.
Thus, these terms do not imply that God literally needed to rest and be refreshed. It simply means that after the formation of man God stopped his work of creation and rejoiced at the fact that all creation up to that point was very good. (c.f. Genesis 1:31)
This interpretation is consistent with the clear teaching of Scripture that God never fatigues:
"He will not allow your foot to be moved- He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep." Psalm 121: 3-4
"Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable." Isaiah 40:28
To then try and use Exodus 31:17 as a prooftext while neglecting the overall context of scripture is rather poor exegesis and unscholarly, since the Bible is clear that God has inexhaustible power and energy.
Our brief examination of Allah as presented in the Quran leads us to conclude that he cannot possibly be the same God worshiped by Abraham and as described in the Holy Bible. The contradictions in attributes and nature between Yahweh and Allah are too numerous to pass over, and cannot be reconciled.
With that in mind, we must point out another major difference between the two; namely that the God of the Holy Bible gives an assurance of salvation through Jesus Christ the Lord, something which Allah never guarantees:
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes in him who sent me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgement, but has passed from death into life. John 5:24
And if anyone hears my words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. John 12:47
The Bible clearly teaches that there is no other way for man to be saved, since Jesus alone can guarantee eternal life, something which the Quran cannot promise any Muslim:
"Jesus said to him, 'I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father except through me.'" John 14:6
"Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12
The reason why Christ alone can promise salvation is because he alone paid the penalty for sin which is death. By his death on the cross Christ provided the only acceptable sacrifice to God on behalf of sinners:
"Being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation) a sacrifice offered which satisfies the divine justice of God) in his blood ..." Romans 3:24-25
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:23
It is therefore up to Muslims to decide whether to accept Jesus Christ as Yahweh's Son and the Savior of the world and receive the assurance of eternal salvation. Or continue to worship Allah of the Quran who never promises Muslims the joy of knowing that their sins have been forgiven, giving them the assurance of eternal salvation. The choice is left for the reader to decide.
NOTE TO THE READER
We are well aware that the name Allah is used by Arab speaking Christians for the God of the Bible. In fact, the root from which the name is derived, ilah, stems from the ancient Semitic languages, corresponding to the Mesopotamian IL, as well as the Hebrew-Aramaic EL, as in Ishma-el, Immanu-el, Isra-el. These terms were often used to refer to any deity worshiped as a high god, especially the chief deity amongst a pantheon of lesser gods. As such, the Holy Bible uses the term as just one of the many titles for Yahweh, the only true God.
Yet the problem arises from the fact that Muslims insist that Allah is not a title, but the personal name of the God of Islam. This becomes problematic since according to the Holy Bible the name of the God of Abraham is Yahweh/Jehovah, not Allah:
God spoke further to Moses and said to him, "I am Yahweh (YHVH) and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty; BUT BY MY NAME, YAHWEH, I did not make myself known to them." Exodus 6:2-3
Therefore, Christians can use Allah as a title but not as the personal name for the God of the Bible.