Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God?
by Bill Lockwood
It is surprising to see the number of Christian people who, apparently from lack of informative study, would suggest that the “God” of the Bible and the “God” of Islam are one and the same. One of the basic concepts of biblical Christianity is “The Father, Son and Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:18-20) (The Trinity) which Islam refers to as blasphemy. That Jesus Christ is Deity (Col. 2:9) and equal to the personage of the Father (John 10:30) and worthy of our worship is also a core Christian concept. But this too Islam declares to be rank blasphemy. But these comparisons only touch the hem of the garment regarding the differences.
The chief attribute of God is “love” (1 John 4:8). But this characteristic is completely lacking in the Islamic description of God. Again, the capricious nature of Allah is set forth in the Koran compared to the one true God who “cannot lie” (Tit. 1:2). “But of a God of infinite Holiness and of infinite Love, Muhammad had no idea whatever” writes Islamic scholar William Tisdall (Religion of the Crescent). Can it be that Allah and God are one and the same?
Character of God
From the fact that “God is Love” flows also the fact that God is our Father and man has been created “in His image” (Gen. 1:27). But in the ninety-nine Titles or “Names of God” repeated by Muslims the name of Father is not one of them. “Not only so, but the very application of this term to God in any sense seems to the Muhammadan mind to be the most utter blasphemy.” Instead, Muhammad’s conception of God was altogether a Deistic one. Being created “in the image of God” man has an affinity with and to God. But there is not the slightest approach to any kinship between man and God in Islamic theology. No sympathy with man and no possibility of it.
Paganistic Concept of God
It is so well documented that in “Pre-Islamic” Arabia “Allah” was regarded as a pagan name for a peculiar pagan Arabian deity that to note all references would be a large task. But they include Encyclopedia Brittanica, I:643; Encyclopedia of Islam, ed. Houtsma, I:302; Encyclopedia of Islam, ed. Gibb, I:406; Encyclopedia of Islam, ed. Lewis, III:1093. “Allah is a pre-Islamic name … corresponding to the Babylonian Bel” (Encyclopedia of Religion, eds. Meagre, O’Brien, Aherne, 1979, I:117).
According to Middle East scholar E.M. Wherry, whose translation of the Koran is still used today, in pre-Islamic times Allah-worship, like the worship of Baal, was an astral religion in that it involved the worship of the sun, the moon, and the stars. Witness the Islamic crescent-moon symbol. Alfred Guilluame, another Arabian scholar, explains that in Arabia the sun god was viewed as a female goddess and the moon as the male god and one of the names by which he was known was “Allah” (Islam, 7). This moon god was married to the sun god by which three daughters were produced—Al-Lat, Al-Uzza, and Manat. These too were viewed as on top of the pantheon of Arabian deities. Could it possibly be that Christians who worship the God of the Bible and Muslims who worship Allah honor the same deity?
For those who are in doubt regarding this, examine Surah 53 of the Koran where the original text reads of three daughters of Allah: “These are exalted females, and verily their intercession is to be hoped for.” These, of course, are the much-discussed “Satanic verses.” Impeccable Muslim sources (al-Tabari; Waqidi) verify the original reading. Later, Muhammed changed the verses and declared that “Satan” had put the original ones in his mouth.
It is sad that Christians are the only ones who insist upon being ill-informed on this subject. “…though the liberal Muslim may admit that Christians or Jews call upon Allah, he could never speak of the Allah of the Christians or Allah of the Jews” (Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, ed. Hastings). The spirit of compromise unfortunately is alive in the Christian world.