Proof That Muslims and Christians Don't Worship the Same God

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are referred to as the three "Abrahamic religions," and not without reason. Muslims even claim each of the Jewish (and Christian) prophets for their own, saying these God-inspired men actually preached subservience to Allah. But one of Islam's central beliefs about Allah actually renders Him very, very different from both the Jewish and the Christian conceptions of God.

"Tawhid teaches that Allah is absolutely one," and on account of this doctrine, "Allah is a monad; he is not inherently relational," writes former Muslim Nabeel Qureshi, in his new book No God But One: Allah or Jesus? A Former Muslim Investigates the Evidence for Islam & Christianity. "Yahweh, on the other hand, is three persons; he is inherently relational." In other words, Muslims and Christians emphatically do not worship the same God. Qureshi warns that this truth is offensive to Muslims, but he cannot be intellectually honest without admitting it.

Islam emphasizes the transcendence of Allah, a quality that the Christian God the Father certainly has, but which Christianity balances through Jesus Christ, who became human, and the Holy Spirit, whose intimate relationship with each Christian believer would be utterly unthinkable to a Muslim.

The transcendence of Allah.

Qureshi focuses on some of the "Ninety-Nine Names" of Allah which show that he "intentionally keeps himself removed from mankind." Quran 42.51 says, "It is not for any human being that Allah should speak to him except by revelation, or from behind a partition, or that He sends a messenger to reveal, by His permission, what He wills."

Some of the names of Allah almost hint at a relationship with humans, but the Arabic meaning of each word again reveals Allah's distance from mankind. As Qureshi explains:

Some understand al-Wali to mean "the Friend," but really it means "the Patron," and it emphasizes the protection of Allah, not a relationship with him. The other word, al-Wadud, is more promising, as it does mean "the Loving" and is used twice in the Quran. But when we look more closely at the word, it seems an expressive idea is in view rather than a relational idea, as in "the Affectionate." This might seem like splitting hairs, but it is an important distinction. Only one of Allah's ninety-nine names could imply he wants intimacy with man, and looking carefully at this word yields nothing that necessitates a relationship.

The primary verse many Muslims use to emphasize God's closeness is 50.16, which says Allah is closer to people than their own jugular veins. Yet "this verse is in the context of an extended threat: Allah is so close to you that he knows your subversive thought very well, and he throws doubters into hell."

Furthermore, the Quran specifically rejects the idea of a father-child relationship between Allah and humans (112.3 and 5.18). "The Jews and the Christians say, 'We are the children of Allah and His beloved.' Say (in response), 'Then why does He punish you for your sins?' Rather, you are human beings from among those He has created." Qureshi points out that this verse "actually does not use the primary and best word for 'love' in Arabic, habb, but it uses it to explicitly deny that people are God's beloved."

Next Page: The intimacy of Yahweh.