A number of people have been asking me, “What is the difference between Christianity and Islam?” There are many differences, of course, but one of the main differences is Islam’s view of Allah. Samuel Zwemer studied Islam and witnessed to many Muslims. Here is his understanding of the Muslim view of God which I shared in a previous post.
“Mohammed’s idea of God is out and out deistic. God and the world are in exclusive, external and eternal opposition. Of an entrance of God into the world or any kind of human fellowship with God he knows nothing….His character is impersonal – that of an infinite, eternal, vast nomad.
William Palgrave describes this Autocrat as more ready to punish than to reward, to inflict pain than to bestow pleasure, to ruin than to build. It is his singular satisfaction to make created beings continually feel that they are nothing else than his slaves, his tools, and contemptible tools also, that thus they may the better acknowledge his superiority, and know his power to be above their power, his cunning above their cunning, his will above their will, his pride above their pride…But he himself, sterile in his inaccessible height, neither loving nor enjoying aught save his own and self-measured decree, without son, companion or counselor, is no less barren for himself than for his creatures, and his own barrenness and lone egoism in himself is the cause and rule of his indifferent and unregarding despotism around.
God stands aloof from his creation; only his power is felt; men are like the pieces on a chess-board and he is the only player. God is so great and the character of his greatness is so pantheistically absolute that there is no room for the human.
James Freeman Clarke maintains that ‘Mohammedanism is the worst form of monotheism in that it makes God pure will – will divorced from reason and love. Islam, instead of being a progressive and completed idea, goes to the lower level than the religions it claims to supplant. Mohammed teaches a God above us; Moses teaches a God above us and yet with us; Jesus Christ teaches God above us, God with us and God in us.’
God above us, not as an Oriental despot, but as a Heavenly Father. God with us, Emmanuel, in the mystery of his Incarnation, which is the stumbling block to the Moslem. God in us through his Spirit renewing the heart and controlling the will in a true Islam, or obedient subjection to a living faith.” (Samuel M Zwemer, The Moslem Doctrine of God, pp.29-87)
With this understanding of God what sort of people does Islam produce? People who think that they are worth nothing in the sight of God. People who are fatalistic about their lives. People who have no relationship with a loving God, and who cannot draw on the love of God to comfort them. They are pawns in God’s game and God is not interested in them for good. They do not know grace and love. It is our task as Christians to witness to them of the Gospel.
“May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14)