Last night my wife and I were watching the Republican National Convention and at the end of the night a Muslim named Sajid Tarar came to the podium. He was the last person to speak and he had about five minutes to express himself. He prayed for the USA and he prayed for Donald Trump. Throughout the audience, most people bowed their heads but from some I heard boos.
Susan, my wife, turned to me and said “Is it ok that they are praying with this guy?”
I replied, “technically, if he is a Muslim and the audience is full of Christians, they are not praying to the same God.”
Today let’s explore that. As I have slugged through the chapter “Will there be Hindus in Heaven” in Adam Hamilton’s book Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White, I spent one post on July 11 explaining how our Bible has Muslim references. I spent another post on July 13 explaining how the Muslim holy book, the Quran, has many references to our Bible and people in our Bible. There is a lot of overlap.
But today, let’s be clear. The Muslim god Allah is not our Christian God.
Mr. Tarar invoked the prophet Muhammad before saying “the values reflected by our leader must reflect the values of our forefathers” [Washington Post, 2016].
Most Christians understand God as the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. However, Muslims reject the idea of the Trinity. Jesus is neither God, nor Son of God (in the literal sense). Jesus was a human prophet and not divine. Muslims worship only their concept of God, the one and only, the creator and sustainer of the universe. That god [Allah] is the creator of Jesus. They feel Allah is the same God that Jesus in the current Bible refers to as Father, the God to whom Jesus used to pray. One can detect an overlap here because Muslims believe that our God is Allah and Jesus’ father is Allah but Jesus is not divine. Jesus is a special human being, a special prophet, like Muhammad and Moses but he is not the direct Son of God.
The idea of the immaculate conception is not accepted by Muslims. Muslims believe all children are children of God so there is nothing special about being called a “child of God.” Muslims believe that Jesus was a pious person but not because He is the Son of God. He was pious because He practiced a perfect discipline in His life.
Finally, angels (such as Gabriel) are servants/agents of God. Angels are created by God; therefore, they are not divine and should not be worshipped.
In watching a Bible study video produced by the apologist Ravi Zacharias entitled “Jesus Among other Gods” he states that Allah is a “distant god” and that is a stark contrast to our conception of God and Jesus. Allah is transcendent but he is not personable, knowable and approachable. Rob Phillips in his blog Oncedelivered.net describes Allah as “more judgmental than gracious.” Muslims consider it blasphemy to presume to know Allah. “He reveals his will, not himself.”
We can know our God personally of course. He has revealed Himself to us. He created us in His image. He exists as a Trinity in the Father, the Son and in each of us as the Holy Ghost. Of course He made Himself known to us in the flesh through His Son Jesus of Nazareth. John 8:19 — “Then they asked Him, ‘Where is Your Father?’ ‘You know neither Me nor My Father,’ Jesus answered. ‘If you knew Me, you would also know My Father.’
Allah loves those he chooses to love and hates those he chooses to hate. Phillips relates that Allah hates those who are treacherous and sinful and people who lack faith and do wrong. Allah does not forgive but he will show them the way to hell.
Our Christian God is certainly not happy when we sin but He continues to love us despite our inability to have sinless lives. To use a popular phrase, God loves the sinner, not the sin. He sent his Son to die for our sins. He has an unconditional love for man.
The Quran teaches that Jesus did not die for man; in fact the crucifixion of Jesus never happened and certainly the resurrection never happened. If man sins, it is man’s problem and Allah is not going to sacrifice for man. Phillips states “a key difference between Islam and Christianity is that in Islam, Allah sends his followers to die for him, whereas in Christianity God sent His Son to die for us.”
Are Allah and Yahweh just two different names for the same God.
Should we think we are praying to the same God when a Muslim prays for us in public?
Did Mr.Tarar have good intentions?
He just did not invoke my God.