May 21, 2006
Jesus and Muhammad: Major Differences (2)By James Arlandson
Part One may be read here.
[If readers would like to see multiple translations of the Quran, they should click on this website. This article uses the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible, but multiple translations may be read here.]
One allowed polygamy and had many wives. The other says one man and one woman is best.
The Quran in Sura 4:3 says:
Maududi paraphrases the verse:
However, Muhammad would not allow polygamy for his son—in—law Ali, because an extra wife would hurt Muhammad's daughter Fatima, by his first wife Khadija. Fatima was married to Ali.
Thus, Muhammad understands how hurtful polygamy can be for women, but he himself practiced it and allowed it for Muslim men, generally.
Moreover, it seems that Allah gave Muhammad special permission to marry as many women as he desired or take them as slaves or concubines, just as in the pre—Islamic days of 'ignorance.'
The Quran in Sura 33:50, a lengthy verse, grants Muhammad wide latitude in his marriages:
This verse says that besides those women whose dower Muhammad paid, he may marry slave—girls—that is, he may have sex with them (see this article). Maududi references three slave—girls taken during raids, and Mary the Copt, a gift from an Egyptian ruler. Muhammad had sex with her, and there does not seem to be a political need for this. Second, Muhammad may marry his first cousins, and Maududi cites a case in which this happened. Third, if a believing woman offers herself to Muhammad, and he desires her, then he may marry her (Maududi vol. 4, note 88).
This hadith says that Muhammad used to visit nine (or eleven) wives in one night.
But the capstone of these 'special' marriages occurs when Muhammad also marries the ex—wife (Zainab or Zaynab) of his adopted son (Zaid or Zayd). His son—in—law divorced her with the Prophet standing in the background. In fact, early Islamic sources say that Muhammad catches a glimpse of his daughter—in—law in a state of undress,� so he desired her. Once the divorce is final, Allah reveals to him in Sura 33:36—44 that this marriage between father—in—law and daughter—in—law is legal and moral.
He endorses the model in the Garden of Eden.
The Old Testament allows polygamy, though it is honest enough to reveal the problems inhering in this ancient custom (e.g. Genesis 16:5 and 1 Samuel 1:6—7). However, God's original intent was to honor women, but polygamy favors men to the exclusion of women. Also, Jesus fulfills�and interprets the Old Testament for Christians, and Eden is his choice. Thus, Christianity protects and honors women.
This article�offers more detail. At the end, it links to more articles on the marriage and divorce of Zaid, Zainab, and Muhammad.
Nine:�Dealing with Sexual Sin
One ordered flogging and execution. The other offers forgiveness and restoration.
This verse, according to reliable traditions, concerns fornication or premarital sex. Note the insertions in brackets and parentheses by the two translators. The Quran in Sura 24:2:
This hadith represents others on Muhammad's policy concerning adultery.
This gruesome hadith passage reports that a woman was buried up to her chest and stoned to death, her blood spurting:
He zeros in on the root cause of adultery. In the famous Sermon on the Mount he says this about adultery and lust:
Immediately, this raises the stakes so high that all corporeal punishment is removed; otherwise, all of humanity would kill each other with legalized stoning. These two verses imply that sexual sin is no longer a civil crime or any kind of crime. As usual with Jesus, he goes to the heart of the sin. Adultery and other sexual sins begin in the mind, so the solution to them must also begin in the mind.
As for prostitutes, Jesus let them into his kingdom on their repentance. While in Jerusalem, the chief priests and elders badgered him with antagonistic questions. Jesus replies.
But first prostitutes have to be forgiven of their sins before they enter the kingdom of God. One day Simon, a Pharisee, invited Jesus into his large house for dinner. Suddenly a 'sinful woman' (read: local prostitute) crashed the dinner party and washed Jesus' feet with her tears, wiped them off with her hair, and poured oil on his feet. The Pharisee became indignant and said to himself that if Jesus really were a prophet, he would know who was touching him and not allow it, for she was unclean. Jesus pointed out to him that Simon had not offered him the customs of hospitality, but this sinful woman was doing this. 'Then Jesus said to her, 'Your sins are forgiven.' The other guests began to say among themselves, 'Who is this who even forgives sins?' [This is another New Testament hint of Jesus' divinity.] Jesus said to the woman, 'Your faith has saved you; go in peace'' (Luke 7:48—50).
This true account shows that Jesus did not order prostitutes and other sexual sinners to be hunted down and flogged or burned alive, even though this one was living in Israel, the Holy Land, and even though the Torah says specifically that a prostitute must be burned with fire (Leviticus 21:9). Instead, Jesus looks at the heart and sees a diamond in the rough. He knows that with his love and power, sexual sinners of all sorts can be changed. So the spiritual solution is forgiveness without condemnation. This is a long, long way from Jesus instituting the punishment of stoning sinners, or even their flogging, as Muhammad would like to reinstitute an old—new Quranic law.
This article explains Sura 24:2 more thoroughly, along with adultery. It also cites more hadiths and explores Islamic law, contrasting them with Christ's new era of salvation.
Here is another� more detailed article on Muhammad's punishment of homosexuality, analyzing the Quran, the hadith, and Islamic law. It also explains the Biblical position. Christ offers forgiveness and restoration.
One worked no miracles. The other works many of them, even today.
He can perform no miracles, according to Allah's own account of him in the Quran. However, in the hadith, his admirers have a strong motive to puff up their beloved Prophet with miracle stories. But the Quran contradicts their accounts.
In the following Meccan verse in Sura 17, Muhammad answers the charge that he cannot work miracles. Allah commands his messenger to "say" the following to his critics.
In this next Meccan verse, people again question Muhammad about this inability to work miracles.
It is an ironic fact that the Quran is clearer about Jesus' miracles than it is about Muhammad's (non)miracles:
Why does not the Quran explicitly and loudly and unambiguously declare Muhammad's miracles, as it does about the miracles of Jesus?
After his death, two discouraged disciples matter—of—factly recount to a seeming stranger (the resurrected Jesus) what they observed to a seeming stranger:
This one summary verse in Luke represents many that tell of his miracles. A very short list follows:
One is not mentioned or prophesied in the Bible. The other fulfills prophecy.
In a verse in the Quran, two scholars insert some parenthetical comments that are not found in the original Arabic.
Though Muhammad's claim that he is found in the Bible is farfetched to begin with, the two translators take it for granted that the Biblical references from Deuteronomy and the Gospel of John mention or prophesy their Prophet. This belief has circulated around the Muslim world for many years and has become 'gospel truth.' Further, Muslim propagandists have searched for clear references to Muhammad in the Torah and the Gospels (and the entire Bible). But have they been successful? Does this belief have any foundation in the Biblical texts?
Researchers have already easily demonstrated that Muhammad does not fit the profile of a Biblical prophet or any other saint mentioned or predicted in the Bible. These articles together consist of a thorough exegesis of Biblical texts, taking them in historical and literary contexts. The absence of any clear reference in the Bible to Muhammad as some sort of future spokesman for God is not surprising. Culturally and chronologically, he was too far removed from the Bible—he was not a Jew. He was also much too inaccurate about the Bible in matters of verifiable, textual facts. Thus, Muhammad is absent from Bible prophecy and all other areas of the Bible.
Old Testament prophecy about himself was very important to Jesus.
After he was resurrected bodily, he appeared to many disciples. Two of them were walking down a road that led to a village called Emmaus. They recounted the recent events and their disappointment that Jesus had not redeemed Israel. But they were amazed that several of the disciples said that the tomb was empty and that Jesus had appeared to some of them. It was a surprise when a seeming stranger joined them in their journey. He asked them what they were talking about. They told him about their disappointment that Jesus was not everything that they had hoped for. Then Jesus (the seeming stranger) revealed himself and gave them a Bible lesson.
And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, [Jesus] explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. (Luke 24:27)
It is quite possible that Jesus discussed at least some of these verses listed in the Table of Messianic Prophecies.� It cites nearly ninety prophecies that follow Jesus from his birth and infancy, to his death, resurrection, and ascension.
One restricts and confuses the doctrine of the Spirit. The other freely offers the Spirit as a full Person.
He severely restricts the role and nature of the Spirit. The references to the Islamic spirit in the Quran are far, far fewer than those to the Spirit in the New Testament. In fact, the Quranic references, below, are complete (or nearly so).
The spirit in the Quran has similar functions as those in the Bible, but the Quranic spirit's role is weaker and less defined. This spirit seems to be involved in creation (Suras 15:98; 32:7—9; 38:71—72). He helped Mary conceive Jesus (Suras 19:18—19; 21:91; 66:12). The spirit appeared in the form of a man to Mary (Sura 19:18—19). He strengthened Jesus (Suras 2:87; 2:253; 5:110), and the believers (Sura 58:22). Jesus is called a "spirit from God" (Sura 4:171; cf. 2:253). The spirit inspired and revealed the Quran (Sura 16:102; 17:85; 26:192—193; 97:4). Finally, he is a witness or participates in some way in the Last Day (Suras 70:4; 78:38), warning of impending judgment (Sura 40:15).
Thus, the Quran's view of the Spirit overlaps somewhat with the Bible's (creation, conception of Jesus, and inspiration), but in other ways the Quran is confused and deficient (Jesus is a spirit; the spirit appears as a man; his helping believers is mentioned only once). But none of this confusion and deficiency matters, because traditional Islam erroneously reduces the Spirit to the archangel Gabriel. Why? A fully developed pneumatology (doctrine of the Spirit) wreaks havoc on a strict unitarian doctrine of God.
Just before his resurrection and ascension, Jesus promises to send the Spirit to every believer who asks in his name (John 14:15—18; 16:5—15). He fulfills this promise in Acts 2:1—4. The Spirit fills the believers, and the church is formally created.
In an exhaustive concordance in which every word in the Bible is listed, the word "Spirit" or "spirit" of God or the Lord in the Old Testament takes up almost two columns. In the New Testament, the same words take over three columns. This gives us an idea of the importance of the Spirit in the New Testament. This is especially remarkable, since the Old Testament is much, much longer than the New. In the New Covenant, the Holy Spirit, as a full Person, lives in every believer to help him follow God and receive his love.�
This long article� (readers may scroll down to "Who is the Spirit?") argues convincingly that the Spirit cannot be Gabriel without damaging other aspects of Islamic theology. This�article replies to Muslim polemics.
Thirteen: Their Roles and Natures
One is only human. The other is both fully human and fully divine.
He is strictly and only a mortal man, Warner, Announcer, Prophet, and Messenger. These are the number of times that the last four titles appear in the Meccan and Medinan suras in the Quran, when the titles apply to Muhammad. The Mecca suras were revealed before his Hijrah or emigration from there to Medina in AD 622. The Medinan ones were received after this date.
The most important statistic is the title of Prophet. It is used only two times in Mecca and in late verses (just before immigrated to Medina). Evidently, Allah was reluctant to call him by that title for a long time. The Quran also drops the title of warner, almost out of sight, after Muhammad arrives in Medina.�
But this is the unalterable fact: he is a mortal man like all of us. He is a human warner, a human announcer or bringer of news, a human prophet, and a human messenger. He never claimed divinity for himself.
His mortality is a major reason why he objects so strenuously to the divinity and Sonship of Christ (Suras 3:58—60; 4:171; 5:72—75, 116; 9:30; 19:33—34). If Muhammad is the best and last prophet and messenger, then how can Jesus surpass him, as the eternal Son of God? Muhammad also objects because of his odd belief that God must have physical relations to produce a son, a notion that Christians reject.
Jesus Christ has multiple titles. Some portray him as a human before the crowds: Rabbi, Teacher, and Prophet (Rabbi and Teacher are synonymous in the New Testament). And other titles depict him as divine: the Christ, the Lord, Son of Man, Son of God, the 'I am,' and God incarnate or 'God with us.' Here is the number of times that his major titles appear in the Four Gospels. Some are close approximations.
This is Part One of Two articles, which goes into more detail on Muhammad's roles and mortal nature. Here is Part Two,�which talks about the roles and natures of Jesus: He is fully human and fully divine. This Appendix has four Tables that list all of the references to Muhammad's roles as warner, announcer, prophet, and messenger.
One died of sickness aggravated by poison. The other died on the cross for the sins of the world.
Dying in the arms of his girl—bride Aisha, Muhammad asked Allah for forgiveness and mercy for his own soul just before he died, begging his deity to raise him up to the highest companions. He also cursed his enemies. The Prophet of Islam said:
He was destined by God to die for the sins of the world. It is unimaginable that Jesus would die from sickness and poison. He healed many with illnesses, in an atmosphere of faith. Further, he forgave his crucifiers. He also prayed for a criminal and promised him that he would be in paradise with him.� Jesus said:
See this article for more differences about their deaths.
Fifteen:�Occupied Tomb, Empty Tomb
One still lies in his. The other was resurrected.
His body lies still in his grave. Anyone can claim that his soul will go to heaven, for no one can see a disembodied soul. This fatwa (legal decree) at a Muslim website clarifies a question posed by a Muslim on the death of Muhammad.
The earliest Christians said Jesus' body was raised to life. The following passage comes from the Gospel of Mark.
He has risen. The tomb is empty.
This article by William Lane Craig explains why, from Paul's theology, Christ was raised bodily. His theology agrees with the Four Gospels. This article by Craig affirms the historicity of the empty tomb. It is not a matter of blind faith. Finally, this article by the same scholar narrows the focus on the disciples' inspection of the empty tomb.
Two strategies seem to be at play in aggressive Islam today. The first is to intimidate and terrorize. This is why we see violent protests and explosions. The second is theological and textual—to blur distinctions. 'Come on,' whitewashers seem to say; 'Islam is just like Christianity; in fact, Islam can complete it. Jesus and Muhammad are the same. So what's all the fuss about?'
But this list contradicts the second strategy. The Son of God and the messenger from Mecca are profoundly different.
Clarity and truth are better than wishful thinking and whitewash. We may wish that all religions were the same, but they are not. Some polemicists whitewash their own religion, but this is deceptive at best and dangerous at worst.
If or when Islam gains a foothold in a region, it may impose its harsh laws (see the Supplemental List, below). This would spell disaster for all freedom—loving people, everywhere. The Quran and Islamic law are harsh and restrictive. They impose external holiness and righteousness on everyone, and harshly punish anyone who refuses.
Christianity has been a blessing to the world, especially in the last three hundred years, and particularly in America (and a blessing in the first few centuries—in between yields mixed results). Gradually returning to its New Testament roots, today it offers real freedom and true peace. And in this environment people can grow and live as they want. They can work at their careers in freedom and become prosperous. They can develop new ideas leading to new technology that benefits humanity.
On the other side, many Islamic countries suppress free—speech and dissent. Rarely can anyone criticize the government, and death to anyone who questions the Quran and Islam itself. It is an observable fact that these nations have stagnated economically. Where is a steady progress of technology coming from this part of the world? Too often woman are restricted, and this means half of the world's brain power is locked up. Thus, throughout the past four hundred or more years, Islam has not been a blessing to societies.
Freedom is better than repression.
Jesus and Christianity offer the first, Muhammad and Islam the second.
Muslim polemicists and propagandists tell us that the Quran is God's final revelation to humanity. Islam improves on Christianity, and their holy book corrects the Bible. These propagandists would like Islam to mediate between Judaism and Christianity. Implementing Islamic law or sharia is God's will. However, the following legal decrees, policies, and practices contradict these mere verbal assertions and mental beliefs. Every one of them comes from the Quran itself, followed by chapter and verse.
This list is all about physical acts and practical policies here on earth, not about abstract doctrines. These policies and legal decrees can be measured and evaluated with our own eyes and sound reason, and how do they come out? Not very well, to say the least.
Further, it may be fairly asked: Did Jesus and his Apostles and the New Testament authors say or do these things? Not even close.
Thus, if the Quran is the last of God's final revelation to humanity, then God must hate us, especially women. Truthfully, humanity can do a lot better than the Quran. We must leave it far behind us in the new millennium.
If the readers suspect that these verses have been taken out of context, they may click on the following articles that in turn have long and several supporting articles behind each item on the list:
Does the Old Testament command some severe punishments? Yes, but go here to find out why they no longer apply in the New Testament.
Contact James Arlandson