Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

July 2006
Cover Story Muslim Perspectives Event Diary - August 2006 Muslim Heritage Feature Community Initiative Update Editorial Opinion Bouquets and Brickbats The Muslim World Islamic Economy Monitor People Track Community Round-Up Muslim & Education Issues Figuring Out Follow-Up Essay Debunking Myths Feedback Workshop Diary Quran Speaks to You Hadith Talking Business Case Study Scholars of Renown Quran & Science Living Islam Our Dialogue Facts & Faith Spirituality Reflections Fiqh Women in Focus Health Chart Guidelines Soul Talk From Darkness to Light Book Review Career Guidance Scholarships Last Word Miscellany In Public Interest Time for Tales Words of Wisdom Poet's Corner Culture & Tradition Matrimonial
ZAKAT Camps/Workshops Jobs Archives Feedback Subscription Links Calendar Contact Us

Facts & Faith

Similarities between Islam and Christianity- Part-1
By Dr. Zakir Naik


No Muslim is a Muslim if he does not believe in Jesus (pbuh).


I welcome all my readers with the Islamic greetings: “Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wa-baraka-tuhu”. May the peace, blessings and mercy of Allah (swt) be on all of you. This was the same greeting that was used by Jesus (pbuh) as is mentioned in the Gospel of Luke chapter No. 24 Verse No. 36 where he says in Hebrew “Shalom Alaykum” which in English means: “Peace be unto you”. [Gospel of Luke 24:36]


Islam is an Arabic word, which comes from the word ‘Salm’ which means peace and from ‘Silm’, which means submitting your will to Allah – the Almighty God and the Sole uncreated Creator of all that exists besides Him.  In short Islam means peace acquired by submitting your will to Allah (swt).


The word Islam is mentioned in several places in the Qur’an and the Hadith including Surah Al-e-Imran, chapter 3, verse 19 and verse 85.


Many people have a misconception that Islam is a new religion, which came into existence 1400 years ago, and that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was the founder of the religion of Islam.


But the fact is that Islam has been in existence since times immemorial, since the first man set foot on this earth. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is not the founder of religion of Islam, but he is the last and final Messenger of Allah (swt). The Glorious Qur’an says:


“And there never was a people without a warner having lived among them (in the past).” [Surah Fatir 35:24]

“For each period is a Book (revealed).” [Surah Al-Rad 13:38]


The Glorious Qur’an says that to every nation and to every people has Almighty Allah (swt) sent a Messenger and a Guide. At the same time, the Glorious Qur’an says:


“Of some Apostles We have already told thee the story; of others We have not;” [Surah An-Nisa 4:164]


“Of them there are some whose story We have related to thee and some whose story We have not related to thee.” [Surah Al-Mu’min 40:78]


Some of the Prophets have been mentioned in the Glorious Qur’an while the others haven’t. Twenty-five of them have been mentioned by their names, like Adam, Noah, Moses, Ishmael, Isaac, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (Peace be upon them all).


Islam is the only non-Christian faith, which makes it an article of faith for its followers to believe in Jesus (pbuh). We believe that he was one of the mightiest Messengers of Allah (swt). We believe that he was born miraculously without any male intervention, which many modern-day Christians today do not believe. We believe that he gave life to the dead by God’s permission. We believe that he healed those born blind and the lepers by God’s permission. As a matter of fact, no Muslim is a Muslim if he does not believe in Jesus (pbuh).


Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “There were 124,000 Messengers sent on the face of the earth.” Only 25 of these have been mentioned by name in the Glorious Qur’an. [Mishkatul Masaabih Vol. 3 Hadith No. 5737 Ahmad Ibn Hambal Vol. 5 page 265-266]


All the Messengers that came before the last and final Messenger Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) were only meant for their people and the message that they brought was meant for a particular time period.


For example, the Glorious Qur’an says:

“And (appoint him) a Messenger to the Children of Israel (with this message): [Surah Al-e-Imran 3:49]


Jesus (pbuh) came as a Messenger only to the children of Israel and not for the whole of humanity. A similar message is given in the Bible where it says:


These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel”. [Gospel of Matthew 10:5-6]


Who are the gentiles? All non-Jews, be they Hindus or Muslims.

It is further mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew Chapter No. 15, Verse No. 24, where Jesus says:


“I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. [Gospel of Matthew 15:24]


The Qur’an says:

Muhammad is not the father of any of your men but (he is) the Apostle of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets.[Surah Al-Ahzab 33:40]


Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was sent not only for the Muslims or only for the Arabs.


The Qur’an says:

We sent thee not but as a mercy for all creatures. [Surah Al-Ambiya 21:107]


The Qur’an says,

We have not sent thee but as a universal (Messenger) to men giving them glad tidings and warning them (against sin) but most men understand not. [Surah Saba 34:28]


Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has been prophesied in various world religious scriptures, including those of the Christians. It has been mentioned in the book of Deuteronomy:


I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. [Deuteronomy 18:18]


This is a prophecy of the coming of a prophet which if you ask the Christians, many will say, that this prophecy actually refers to Jesus (pbuh). When you ask them that how does it refer to Jesus (pbuh), they will reply that the prophecy says, “I shall raise thee up a prophet from amongst thy brethren like unto thee, like unto Moses (pbuh)”. So if the prophet is like Moses (pbuh), then it indicates that prophet is the person mentioned in this prophecy. And they say that Jesus and Moses (peace be upon them both) were alike. And the reasons they gave are that Moses (pbuh) is a prophet of God, even Jesus (pbuh) was a prophet of God. Moses (pbuh) was a Jew, Jesus (pbuh) was a Jew. So they give two similarities, and when we ask them that are these two similarities sufficient that this prophecy indicates only to Jesus (pbuh) and they will agree with it. If these two are the only criteria for fulfillment of that prophecy, then all the prophets mentioned in the Bible that came after Moses (pbuh) like Solomon, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Job, John the Baptist, Aaron etc. All of them were prophets of Almighty God and all of them were Jews. So all these prophets mentioned after Moses (pbuh) in the Bible fulfill this prophecy.


But if you carefully analyze this prophecy of Deuteronomy Chapter No.18, Verse 18, you will conclude that it befits no one but the last and final messenger Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Because if you analyse, Moses and Muhammad (peace be upon them both), they both had a natural birth, they had a father as well as a mother. Jesus (pbuh), according to the Glorious Qur’an Surah Al-e-Imran Chapter No. 3 Verse No. 45-47, was born miraculously without any male intervention.


Behold! The angels said, “O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus the son of Maryheld in honor in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah.


He shall speak to the people in childhood and in maturity and he shall be (of the company) of the righteous.”She said:

“O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man hath touched me?” He said:

“Even so: Allah createth what He willeth; when He hath decreed a plan He but saith to it ‘Be’ and it is! [Surah Al-e-Imran 3:45-47]


And the same message is given in the Gospel of Mathew Chapter No. 1, Verses No. 18 as well as in Gospel of Luke chapter No. 1 Verses 34-35 – that Jesus (pbuh) was born miraculously and he had not worldly father.


Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise:

When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. [Gospel of Matthew 1:18]


Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee. [Gospel of Luke 1:34-35]


So if we analyse, Moses (pbuh) was like Muhammad (pbuh) and unlike Jesus (pbuh).


Both Moses and Muhammad (pbut) they were married and they had children. According to the Bible, Jesus (pbuh) was not married neither he had any children. Both Moses and Muhammad (pbuh) had natural deaths, Jesus (pbuh), he did not have a natural death.


The Glorious Qur’an says in Surah Nisa Chapter No. 4, Verse No. 157 & 158:

That they said (in boast):

“We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary the Apostle of Allah”; but they killed him not nor crucified him but so it was made to appear to them and those who differ therein are full of doubts with no (certain) knowledge but only conjecture to follow for of a surety they killed him not.


Nay Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power. Wise. [Surah An-Nisa 4:157-158]


And according to the Christians “Jesus (pbuh) was crucified on the cross”. In both the cases, he did not have a natural death. So Moses (pbuh) was unlike Jesus (pbuh). And further if you analsze, Moses and Muhammad (pbuh), they were both accepted by the people. The people accepted them as a whole. But the Gospel of John Chapter No. 1, Verse No. 11, says that when Jesus went, his own did not receive him:


He came unto his own, and his own received him not. [Gospel of John 1:11]

So Jesus’ (pbuh) own people did not receive him.

Moreover, Moses and Muhammad (pbut), besides being prophets of Almighty God, were even kings – meaning, they could give a capital punishment of death to whoever they wanted, whoever committed a crime. Besides being prophets of God, they were even head of states, kings of that world, at that particular time. But Jesus (pbuh) was not a worldly king. It is mentioned in the Gospel of John Chapter No. 18, Verse No. 36 that:


Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: [Gospel of John 18:36]


So if you analyse Moses and Muhammad (pbuh) they were alike, but Moses and Jesus (pbut) they were not alike. This prophecy befits no one better than the last and final messenger Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).


Further the prophecy reads, “I shall raise them up a prophet from amongst thy brethren . . . : “Brethren means relatives and we know that Jews and the Arabs are relatives of each other. And further the prophecy says that, “I shall put my words into his mouth”. And we know that whatever revelation our beloved prophet Muhammad (pbuh) received, he verbatim repeated that, as though words were put in his mouth. So this complete prophecy exactly befits Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).


Furthermore, it is mentioned in the Book of Isaiah Chapter No. 29, Verse No. 12 that:


And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned. [Isaiah 29:12]


And we know when the first revelation, that was revealed to beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is from Surah Iqra, Surah Alaq Chapter 96, Verse 1:


“IQRA”!
Proclaim! (or Read!) [Surah Al-Alaq 96:1]


When Archangel Gabriel commanded “read”, the Prophet said, “Ma, ana Bi Qarein”. “I am not learned”. This exactly is verbatim of what has been prophesied in the Old Testament in the Book of Isaiah Chapter 29, Verse No. 12.


It is further mentioned in the songs of Solomon Chapter No. 5, Verse No. 16: it says

“HIKKO MAMITTAKIM WE KULLO MUHAMMADIM,
ZEHDOODEEH WA ZEHRAYEE BAINA JERUSALEM”.


His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem. [Songs of Solomon 5:16]


It is a Hebrew quotation, which says, “His mouth is most sweet, he is altogether lovely”. If you analyse, in Hebrew language, in the Semitic languages ‘IM’ is a word for respect, plural of respect, like ELOHIM, it is for respect, a plural of respect. Similarly the word is ‘Muhammad’ added with ‘IM’ (pbuh), Muhammadim. So actually even his name is mentioned in the original manuscript, but in translation they have translated ‘Muhammadim’ as ‘altogether lovely’. Hence, by name even the name of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is there in the original manuscripts of the Bible.


(To be continued) . . .


English translation of verses of the Glorious Qur’an is taken from Abdullah Yusuf Ali” References of the Bible have been taken from the King James Version


(Dr. Zakir Naik is the President of the Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation and can be reached at zakir@irf.net)