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There are some similarities between Islamic and Judaeo-Christian thought about God. Mohammed was certainly influenced by Christianity and Judaism as he developed Islam. Muslims, Jews and Christians agree that God is the Creator of heaven and earth. All three religions see God as everlasting, all powerful and all wise. All three proclaim that God will someday judge the world, and that He has sent prophets and has given scriptures. Muslims and Christians even use similar words to describe God. It is often surprising to many non-Arabic speakers that all Arabic Bibles use the word “Allah” for God (see note below).
GodTube Video: The Crescent through the Eyes of the Cross
How Muslims Understand God: Insights from an Arab Christian
Understand God: Differences
Despite the similarities, there are real, profound and significant differences between Christian and Muslim beliefs. Muslims have a fundamentally different understanding of God compared to Christians. Muslim faith and experience are remarkably different from Christian faith and experience.
Islam actually teaches that God Himself is unknowable. Muslims seek to worship a God whom they believe is unknowable. Christians are called into relationship with their Creator and Redeemer: Jesus defined eternal life as knowing the Father and the one whom he had sent (John 17:3).
* Pray that Muslims around the world will come to believe that it is possible to know God and understand God.
The Muslim Allah is impersonal. In Islam God is not a person. He is simply beyond description. While Muslims habitually address prayers to the God of Abraham, they do not believe that this God will speak to them or reveal Himself to them. Abraham’s experience was very different. God spoke to Abraham and called him His friend (Gen. 12:1-3, 2 Chron. 20:7, Isa. 41:8, James 2:23).
* Pray that Muslims would come to know God as a real person.
In Islam Allah is absolutely free (His actions are not bound by character or moral principles). Christians believe that God Himself always acts in accordance with moral principles and He even makes covenants.
* Pray for Muslims to have a revelation of the character of God (His love, faithfulness, kindness, holiness and justice).
Allah in Islam has no emotions. Muslim theologians believe that it would be incorrect for God to have real emotions. For them it would be demeaning to His greatness. In the Bible God is seen as one who grieves, who rejoices and who loves passionately.
* Pray for a revelation of the loving-kindness of God which will touch the emotions of Muslims.
Muslims believe that God is only one and He has no associates. Christians do not believe that Jesus is an associate of God but that He is God in the flesh (John 1:1-18). Knowing God as a Trinity is a profound thing. In the words of Francis Schaeffer: Love, communication and friendship have always been present between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Trinity gives us an example of how to live.
* Pray for Muslims to have a profound revelation of the Triune God.
Note: In our 30-Days of Prayer for the Muslim World prayer booklet the words God and Allah are always spelled with a capital letter for simplicity.