“When terrorists struck our nation years ago, all of us wanted to learn more about Islam. In the years following, we have all learned more about the world’s second largest religion. But sometimes, political correctness has clouded clear thinking about Islam.
One politically correct phrase that I often hear is that “Christians and Muslims worship the same God.” It is understandable that people might say that. Both Islam and Christianity are monotheistic, even though a foundational difference is the Christian belief in the trinity.
Certainly the most foundational doctrine in Islam is monotheism. This doctrine is encapsulated in the creed: “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is the prophet of Allah.” And not only is it a creed, it is a statement of faith that routinely heard from the lips of every faithful Muslim. It the creed by which every Muslim is called to prayer five times a day.
Because of this strong emphasis on monotheism, Muslims reject the idea that God could be more than one person or that God could have a partner. The Qur’an teaches that Allah is one God and the same God for all people. Anyone who does not believe this is guilty of the sin of shirk. This is the quintessential sin in Islam. According to Islam, God cannot have a partner and cannot be joined together in the Godhead with other persons. Muslims therefore reject the Christian idea of the Trinity.
Muslims and Christians also differ in their understanding of the nature and character of God. The God of the Bible is knowable. Jesus came into the world that we might know God (John 17:3).
Islam teaches a very different view of God. Allah is transcendent and distant. He is separate from His creation. He is exalted and far removed from mankind. While we may know His will, we cannot know Him personally. In fact, there is very little written about the character of God. Allah is the creator and sustainer of the creation, but He is also unknowable. No person can ever personally know and have a relationship with Allah. Instead, humans are to be in total submission to the will of Allah.
Moreover, Allah does not personally enter into human history. Instead, he deals with the world through His word (the Qur’an), through His prophets (such as Muhammad), and through angels (such as Gabriel).
Finally, a Christian and Muslim perspective on God’s love is also very different. Christians begin with the belief that “God so loved the world” (John 3:16). By contrast, Muslims grow up hearing about all the people Allah does not love. Sura 2:190 says, “For Allah loves not transgressors.” Sura 3:32 says, “Allah loves not the unbelievers.” And Sura 3:57 says, “For Allah loves not the evildoers.”
The Christian and Muslim view of God are strikingly different. The politically correct phrase that we both worship the same God does not do justice to either Christianity or Islam. Christians and Muslims do not worship the same God.”