Part 1: THE SAMENESS ILLUSION
Part 3 A: THE ISLAMIC COUNTER NARRATIVE-A
Part 3 B: THE ISLAMIC COUNTER NARRATIVE-B (Noah)
Part 4: So Who is Allah
Part 5: HISTORICAL FLASHBACK
PUTTING “SAMENESS” TO REST
We have established from the primary sources of Islam that through the appropriation and recasting of our Biblical narrative in all of its elements, vocabulary and terminology, into the Qur’an itself, there has been a usurpation of the authentic Biblical narrative which is historically accurate, and proven by the fulfilment of its prophecies as well as substantiated by archaeology and related disciplines.
The Islamic counter narrative (with its various threads) has been cleverly woven together, by keeping some apparent similarities in the names and stories of the Biblical characters, thus giving the illusion that they are the same as the Biblical ones. Having done that, the Qur’an takes the bold step of declaring that “your God and our Allah are the same”. Built into that in the Qur’anic narrative is the unsubstantiated assertion that all previous “books” were earlier limited editions of the Qur’an, that their recipients were all Muslims, and that they already knew about Muhammad and paid allegiance to him by Allah’s command. The result is a narrative that replaces the Biblical narrative that points to Christ, to another pointing to Muhammad.
This has produced a system that claims to be the same as the one that Christians hold, but which transforms the understanding of both God and His relationship with humankind – in other words, the Lord God’s knowability through self-revelation and the Incarnation. It substitutes sonship with slavery. Believers are not redeemed through the cross of Christ, but are held captive and in servitude, thus reversing the understanding of the Lord God as a loving Father, into a harsh and cruel master.
As a result, we have demonstrated that the attractions of “similarity” and “sameness” which appear in the Qur’an are nothing but a mirage intended to validate the counterclaims of Islam and its prophet. Unfortunately, this very effective mirage has attracted well-meaning Christian theologians and scholars in their determination to find a common ground through what some have termed “sufficient similarity”, from which they endeavour to engage Muslims and bring them to Christ. We hope that this grave and counterproductive missiological misunderstanding will finally be put to rest once and for all.
“SAMENESS” AND BIBLICAL CORRUPTION TIED TO THE ISLAMIC NARRATIVE
We show that one cannot argue that the Qur’an does not claim Biblical corruption—although a large number of Christian scholars have declared that to be the case. Since the Qur’an speaks of the Tawrat, Zaboor and Injeel, and that Jews and Christians in Muhammad’s time were urged to examine their own scriptures—this then was taken as proof for some Christians that the Qur’an acknowledges the “earlier revelations” as being divine and without corruption.
We have shown that these very Qur’anic verses that these Christians have used to illustrate their point, are in reality a stern rebuke, if not a threat, to Jews and Christians of Muhammad’s time and hence for eternity. These Jews and Christians were urged to examine “their own books” specifically to discover all the prophecies about Muhammad—not only his expected coming, but the details of his personality and message, together with the Islamic messages that all their prophets had allegedly preached.
Not only did the Tawrat, Zaboor and Injeel confirm the coming of Muhammad, they “came down” from the “Eternal Tablet”, thus declaring that they were earlier and limited versions of the Qur’an. By taking that position, the new Islamic narrative was made to hold together by showing how and why our Bible has been corrupted. It involved a completely new revelation process whereby Allah was said to have delivered his “will”, composed of demands and directives, through the process of the “Wahy”.
Thus it was not just the issue of Biblical corruption per se, but the recasting of the entire narrative to show that the message of “Islamic Monotheism” was the only true message. This necessitated the eventual coming of Muhammad, linking this monotheism with the Islamic creed, the Shahadah, “No god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” In so doing, the Biblical characters became Qur’anic ones. They were given Arabised/Islamised names, changed stories with changed outcomes. This is usually set aside in favour of the mindset of “sufficient similarity” used by so many Christian scholars. We saw in the Qur’an the omissions, denials and changes made to the stories of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus—a recasting that attempted to prove that they were, after all, true Muslims, who in the final analysis acknowledged Muhammad and bowed to his authority.
THE REALITY ABOUT ALLAH
Given this reconstructed narrative, the dilemma that faced Islam was, and continues to be, to try to keep an apparent link with the Lord God of the Judeo-Christian scriptures based on the “sameness” declaration, while at the same time calling for “peace” between Muslims and Christians. This so-called “theology” gets wrapped in a political goal with a hidden agenda. Thus in the “Common Word” movement, 138 Muslim scholars representing almost all the main Islamic schools and movements, would venture to make a “peace” offer—one that would look sincere at face value but is very cynical in reality. They would accomplish this by using the Qur’anic verse,
3:64, “Say (O Muhammad), ‘O People of the Scripture, come to a common word between us and you – that we will not worship except Allah and not associate any partner with him and not take one another as lords besides Allah.’ But if they turn away, then say that you bear witness that we are Muslims.”
The Common Word invitation would focus on the “unity of God”, declaring in another form the sameness between Allah of Islam and the Lord God of the Bible. What is hidden in the peace offer is that in reality it is a veiled threat—a modern form of the very threat from Muhammad to Emperor Heraclius of Byzantium in 628 AD. Using the same Qur’anic verse, i.e. 3:64, Emperor Heraclius was “invited to the message of Islam” and told in no uncertain terms, “be a Muslim and you will be safe” (Aslim Tislam).
Based on all these factors and more, it became incumbent on us to try to describe who Allah is and is not. We showed that because of the various Qur’anic injunctions on the nature of Allah (or rather the lack of any comprehensible nature using human understanding), Muslim scholars have had immense difficulties in coming to grips with this thorny question. At one point “Allah is All and All is Allah”, yet at another point this statement is negated. In order to keep some level of unity among the scholars, the final words of wisdom on this issue came about by defining four basic negatives about him—all in support of the Qur’anic assertion, “… there is none like him …” But these deductions would further emphasise and remove all possibilities about the knowledge of Allah: In the end, Allah is genderless, although called “he”, and his “oneness” cannot be described as one in number, form, substance, essence, etc. Although he is called “the creator”, his creation was brought into being remotely, without his personal involvement with his creation. He is a distant creator, in another realm since he would never reveal himself, make man in his image, or make conditional and unconditional covenants with man. He is said to be absolute in power, yet limited. He is unaccountable.
The conclusion is that Islamic thought and practice has constructed a formidable system of enslavement and constitutional discrimination from which there is little room to move or chance of escape, humanly speaking. This system could not be the product of the loving Lord God who revealed Himself as the Father, who sent His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). Surely this system of bondage, deception, and divinely ordained enmity of the “other”, could never reflect the character and nature of the Lord God of the Bible—the Triune God, who is the covenant-making, the covenant-keeping, the covenant-sustaining God, the God who revealed Himself fully in Christ Jesus—who came to set the captives free (Isaiah 61:1a; Luke 4:18). To put it in hypothetical terms, if Allah were one and the same as the Lord God of the Bible, then he would have also been the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and as such it would have been impossible for him to deny the salvific mission of His only begotten son, His crucifixion, His burial, His resurrection, His ascension and His glorious return.
SO, WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
Therefore, the only conclusive and meaningful yardstick for measurement and examination of the sameness or differences between the Lord God of the Bible and the Allah of the Qur’an must be the person, the message, and the mission of Christ Jesus—for He is the fulfilment of the Law, the prophets, the Psalms and the totality of the scriptures, as incomparably expressed in Colossians 1:15-19.
The scripture declares that Christ is the image of the invisible God:
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
And Jesus said of Himself the following:
“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58).
“I am the alpha and the omega [the alif and the taf]. I am the beginning and the end” (Rev. 1:8).
“I and the Father are one…” (John 10:30).
“He who has seen me has seen the Father…” (John 14:9).
The Bible verses quoted above prove conclusively that the Allah of the Qur’an has no commonality with the Lord God of the Bible, nor does Islamic monotheism (Tawheed) have anything to do with Old or New Testament Biblical monotheism.
As indicated early on in this narrative, great damage has been and is being done to Christian missions by relying on apparent commonalities and related missiological methodologies based on these assumed similarities —similarities which we have now shown to provide an intentional illusion woven intermittently into the Qur’anic text. Hopefully, this exposure will go a long way to counter such methodologies, so that a Biblical missiological paradigm will be developed to reflect the reality, rather than the illusion.
Finally, the Qur’an can best be described as a set of “…arguments raised up against the knowledge of God…” (2 Cor. 10:5) —meaning arguments against the “knowability” of God.
It behoves us as Christians to heed the advice of the Apostle Paul to consider this spiritual battle to be, “not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms…” (Eph. 6:12).
Further, by putting on the “full armour of God” to “stand ” against these forces, we are also reminded of the foollowing: “(He) trains my hands for war …” (Psalm 144:1), and that our only offensive weapon is “the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God ” (Eph. 6:17) —hence the necessity of “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 15), to “set the captives free” (Luke 4:18).