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.
On going series on the difference between Allah and Lord GOD of the Bible.
THE INITIAL CALL (DA’WA)
So, how did this all happen in real-time? And what are the implications for today?
Unfortunately, the only source that the Muslim scholars rely on to provide a presumed historical account of Muhammad’s career is given in various versions of what is termed the “Sirah” (purported biography). This was written well after his death at different times by different authors who relied heavily on oral traditions.
The Sirah is both authoritative, and considered to be somewhat speculative. In examining these belated chronicles of Muhammad’s career, it all started with his initial proclamations of absolute oneness of Allah, as in:
Surah 112, “Say: ‘He is Allah, One. Allah, the self-sufficient, besought of all. He neither begot, nor was begotten. Nor is there anyone equal to him.’”
Thus, Muhammad declares all others as forms of idolatry, and in particular, the divine Sonship of Christ, to be the highest form of idolatry and therefore an unforgivable sin (called Shirk in Islam).
Having answered the question from the perspective of whether or not Allah is one and the same, or even tangentially similar to the Lord God of the Bible with a resounding “no”, the question remains: then who is he?
So let us explore the central dilemma that has faced Muslim scholars throughout Islamic history—the dilemma of defining the nature of Allah,or more precisely in developing the so-called Doctrine of Allah, while proclaiming that he never reveals his nature, so his nature cannot be known and that any attempt to discover it is considered the highest level of Shirk (i.e. association of any deity or person with Allah).
They would develop the terms, (a) “Tawheed”, meaning absolute oneness or unity to describe Allah and (b) “Tanzeeh”, meaning that Allah is free of all anthropomorphisms and absolutely incomparable to anything or anyone – in other words, being pure and distinct from all associations (see Figure below). They would then state that Tawheed is the “true monotheism” from the foundation of the universe.
They would use Qur’anic verses and Hadith quotations to denounce the Triune God of the Bible as violating both the Tawheed and the Tanzeeh, and would produce as evidence a distorted definition of the “Trinity” calling it “Shirk”. Islam teaches that the “Trinity” is composed of three gods. There is a school of thought that posits that this trinity is composed of Allah, Maryam and Issa, inferring a physical union between Allah and Maryam. Even when explained that this is not the case, but that the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity is rather Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the Muslim scholars would still regard it as polytheism and associating partners with Allah (Shirk). Despite being unable to tell us anything of substance about Allah, they still object and continue to vehemently refute the Biblical doctrine of the self-revealing Triune God
In examining the Islamic account of the Islamised Abraham, renamed Ibrahim, and comparing it with the Biblical account of Abram and later Abraham, the main seeming resemblance between the two accounts is that of the concept of the “sacrifice of the son”. Even then, the two “sacrifice” stories are vastly different in detail and, of course, in outcomes and concluding doctrines. All other aspects of the life stories of Abram/Abraham vs. Ibrahim, are strikingly different. Yet, it is the accepted norm for many Christian theologians and missiologists to refer to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as the “three monotheistic Abrahamic religions”, thus joining them together in one group that is distinct from other belief systems.
Strangely enough, the Qur’an unequivocally denounces any association of Ibrahim with Jews or Christians and their beliefs:
Surah 3:67, “Ibrahim was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was a true Hanafi Muslim and he was not of those who associate partners with Allah.”
Ibrahim and His Belief in Allah vs. the Lord God’s Covenant with Abram/Abraham
The Islamic counter-narrative as expressed in the pages of the Qur’an is based on a set of connected claims, which fully counter the Biblical “Crimson Thread”—the thread that all scripture points to Christ. Here is a brief summary of those connected Islamic claims:
The claim that the “true religion”, i.e. Islam, requires the belief in the one Allah with Muhammad as his prophet and messenger, as expressed in the Islamic creed, the Shahadah.
The claim that this belief represents the true original monotheism that was expressed in the original books that came down to the Biblical prophets and messengers.
The claim that all the prophets and messengers were sent by Allah to preach Islam and to acknowledge the coming of Muhammad.
The claim that Jews and Christians have corrupted their scriptures primarily by removing reference to Muhammad, and then by changing the text of the Bible to fit such removal.
Based on these claims, the Qur’an proceeds to reconstruct the lives and messages of the Biblical characters to develop key Islamic doctrines, while opposing the original Biblical ones. The readers of the Qur’anic versions of these stories may be taken aback, first by the apparent similarities in names, and then by the stark contrast of the details.
Before we delve into the details of these stories, we start with a recap of the original message of Islamic monotheism as expressed in the Islamic creed, the Shahadah.