Islamic Allah Vs. Biblical Jehovah
The Muslims call the one and only God, Allah. In the Qur’an he is the same God who made Adam, spared Noah in the Deluge, was worshiped by Abraham, gave the Law through Moses and sent Jesus as the Messiah to the Jews. This has led some to believe that Allah is the same as Jehovah. Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God only referencing them by different names? In this lesson you will see that it would be a grave insult to both adherents of these two world religions to equate Allah with Jehovah. While Allah may share a few similarities with the God of the Bible, they have, in fact, many more differences.
Some Muslims have argued that the God of the Bible and Allah of the Qur’an are one and the same. As proof, they point out that Allah is found in the word “alleluia.” However, this Hebrew term means “praise Jehovah” and is not a compound word. Additionally, it is pointed out that Psalm 22:1 refers to Allah when the Lord quoted this verse when He cried out on the cross “Eli, Eli.” The Jews thought He was calling out to Elijah. Muslims make the mistake of thinking he was calling out to Allah. Both are incorrect.
Unknowable Vs. Knowable
Allah is unknowable. Self-revelation is a key aspect of the God of the Bible. The purpose of Christ coming to the world is to make God known (Jn. 17:3). God reveals Himself by way of the Bible and His creation (Ps. 19; Rom. 1:18f). Man’s only acceptable boast is that he knows God (Jer. 9:23,24). Inspiration is not just about revealing His commandments and His warnings, but about showing who He is to His creatures.
Transcendent Vs. Also Intimate
The reason Allah is unknowable is connected with him being wholly transcendent. The Bible speaks of God being transcendent (Jer. 23:23,24; Is. 55:8,9). It also claims He is very immanent. He walked in the garden with Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:9). He walked with Enoch (Gen. 5:24) and Noah walked with Him (Gen. 6:9). He spoke directly to many men throughout the Bible, from Abraham to Moses to David to Elijah. Even in the New Testament God spoke directly to Peter, James and John at the Transfiguration (Matt. 17:5). He spoke to Paul on the road to Damascus and then to Ananias telling him to teach the Gospel to Paul (Acts 9:1-10). Paul preached to the Athenians on Mars Hill that God “is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27). James commands us to “draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8).
Conditional Love Vs. Unconditional Love
To be loved, Allah demands his servants first be purified from sin “For Allah loves those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean” (surah 2:222). He has conditional love (surahs 2:190; 3:32,37,76,140). Whereas the Bible claims God loves us while we are still sinners. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). He loved this sinful world enough to send His Son Jesus to die for our sins so that we might be His children (Jn. 3:16).
Not a Father Vs. THE Heavenly Father
Allah is not a father (surahs 19:88-92; 112:3). “The Qur’an never uses the word ‘Father’ of God. Jesus taught his disciples to address him as ‘Our Father’.” (McDowell, 377). Allah does not have a son (surahs 6:101; 19:35). In contrast, Jesus constantly affirmed that He was the Son of God (Jn. 3:16). Muslims do not consider themselves children of Allah as do Jews and Christians (surah 5:18). The epistle of John makes several claims to our Father/child relationship with God. “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 Jn. 3:2; cf. 3:1,10; 5:2).
Unitarian Vs. Trinitarian
Islam is monotheistic to the point that they believe Christians and Jews teach tritheism (three gods) instead of teaching the trinity (unity of one God in three persons). God is three in the unity of one. In the mind of a strict monotheist this is as impossible as 1+1+1= 1. However, the trinity of God is more like 1x1x1=1. In describing and explaining the trinity the term “Godhead” appears with great frequency. The English “Godhead” appears three times in the KJV: Acts 17:29; Rom. 1:20; Col. 2:9. According W.E. Vine it means “The Divine essence of Godhood, the personality of God.”
There are two Hebrew words for “one”: yachid, which means “absolute mathematical oneness;” and echad, meaning a “composite unity” or a “united one.” Deuteronomy 6:4 reads “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!” The Hebrew word for one is “echad” meaning God is a united one, not one in number. Jesus said, “I and my father are one” (Jn. 10:30). The word “one” is from the Greek heis. In this verse it is in the neuter gender hen. The marginal note in the New American Standard defines it: “a unity, or one essence”. Jesus is not saying that He and the Father are the same Person, but they have the same essence.
Non-Spiritual Vs. Spiritual
Since Muslims believe that spirits must be created, Allah who is the uncreated one cannot be a spirit. Jesus said, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (Jn. 4:24).
Unlimited Vs. Limited
Islam believes that Allah is unlimited. There is nothing he cannot do. If he chooses to sin or promote evil or hate, he can do so. His own characteristics will not limit him. In the New Testament God is limited by His divine nature. “That by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us” (Heb. 6:18). “If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself” (2 Tim. 2:13).
Good and Evil Vs. Holy
According to the Qur’an, Allah is able to induce both good and evil (surah1:118,119; 32:13; 113-1,2). In the Bible God is light and “in Him is no darkness at all” (1 Jn. 1:5). Not only can He not tempt anyone to do evil, He cannot be tempted by evil (Js. 1:13-15) He alone is good (Matt. 19:17; Nah. 1:7). “He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord” (Ps. 33:5).
Capricious Vs. Trustworthy
Because Allah is unlimited and can promote both good and evil, he is capricious. He can change whatever and whenever he chooses.
The God of the Bible claims “I the Lord do not change” (Mal. 3:6). He is trustworthy. Paul wrote, “in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began” (Titus 1:2).
Absolute Sovereign Vs. Sovereign Respecting Free-will
Islam claims: “Not only can he (God) do anything, but he actually is also the only one who does anything. When a man writes, it is Allah who has created in his mind the will to write. Allah at the same time gives power to write, then brings about the motion of the hand and the pen and the appearance upon paper. All other things are passive. Allah alone is active” (4.5 Ron Rhodes). The Bible teaches that God has sovereignty and man has free will. “In fact, they are often side by side in a single Scripture verse (see Acts 2:23; 13:48).” This may be very difficult to rectify in the human mind. An independent, autonomous Creator gave man the liberty to choose good or evil.
Just because Muslims claim there is only one god and His name is Allah, does not make him the true God or the one Christians and Jews have worshiped for centuries. Suppose Socrates had claimed Zeus to be the one and only god. All the while Zeus is defined by the stories in Greek mythology. This would not prove that Zeus is the same as the God of the Bible. The contrasts in their actions and character would prove they are not the same. Moreover, Allah as defined by the Qur’an and the Hadith is not the same as the God who is made known in the Bible. They are not alike. In fact, they are frequently antithetical.
– Daniel R. Vess