Do Muslims and Christians Believe in the Same God? -- By: Imad N. Shehadeh
BSac 161:641 (Jan 2004) p. 14
Do Muslims and Christians Believe in the Same God?a
Imad N. Shehadeh is Founder and President of Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary, Amman, Jordan.
Since September 11, 2001, interest in the religion of Islam has heightened. Much of the current questioning about this religion leads naturally to noting how Islam compares with and differs from other religions, particularly Christianity. This kind of investigation has the advantage of sensitizing the researcher to the different perspectives on reality that other religions bring to theological education.1 It also finds that the claims of Islam challenge the very foundations of Christianity. Yet after careful exploration of Islam’s view of itself in relation to biblical revelation, a new understanding and appreciation of the Christian faith emerges. It is hoped that the articles in this series will go further in demonstrating the inherent stability and penetrative message of Christianity and bring to the forefront the purity and solidarity of biblical doctrine. To put it another way, the study of Islam helps refine Christianity’s own understanding of itself.2
This study is limited to mainstream Sunni Islam. Also in dealing with general Islamic assertions, it is primarily the Qur’an and the Hadith that are considered, along with comments by Muslim theologians about them. The Qur’an is believed by Muslims to have been inspired by God and given to Muhammad by dictation. The Hadith is the collection of the sayings of Muhammad accumulated
BSac 161:641 (Jan 2004) p. 15
by his followers and compiled in the eighth century A.D.3 Both the Qur’an and the Hadith are considered inspired but in different senses, the Qur’an being recited (matlu) and the Hadith being not recited (ghayr-matlu). It is therefore vital to understand Islam’s highest authorities before examining how they affect current Muslim thinking.
Who Is the God of Muhammad?
A fundamental question lies at the root of the inquiry about Islam and Christianity: Do Muslims and Christians believe in the same God? Islam claims that they do. Referring to Jews and Christians, Muhammad declares in the Qur’an, “We believe in the revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; our God and your God is One; and it is to Him we bow.”4 Furthermore the Qur’an claims that God had sent His word of inspiration to Muhammad...
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