Christians and Muslims share a lot of common ground. For example, both religions are monotheistic, believing in one God. And we hold many of the same beliefs, with some significant differences.
Take a look for yourself. Here is a summary explanation of Islam’s Six Articles of Faith. Much of it will sound familiar. See if you can identify the similarities and differences between Islam and Christianity.
Islamic Beliefs: The Six Articles of Faith
Muslims believe in one God (monotheism). They do not, however, believe in the trinity because that concept (to them) creates multiple gods.
Angels and supernatural beings called Jinn (can be good or bad) are important in Islamic literature and Muslim experience. The prophet Muhammad had an encounter with a supernatural being, which is how he reportedly received the text of the Quran. And Muslims are open to receiving and often seek supernatural experiences through dreams, visions, and other encounters.
Muslims believe Adam was the first prophet and Muhammad was the last prophet. They believe God sent prophets to deliver divine teachings. Other prophets include Noah, Ibrahim (Abraham) the father of Muslims, Moses, David, Isa (Jesus).
Muslims revere Jesus but they don’t think he is the son of God. They do, however, give him titles of honor, such as Messiah.
“People of the Book” is how Islamic literature refers to Jews and Christians. Muslims respect us for having a holy book but they believe our Bible has been corrupted except for certain portions. These portions include the Books of Moses (Tawrat), the Psalms (Zabur), and the Gospels (Injil). They also include the Quran as the last and final book.
Islam has a similar view of heaven and hell to Christians. Heaven is a place free of sin and sorrow and filled with beauty and pleasure. Hell is a foul burning place. Muslims even believe in a day of resurrection. Sunnis even believe Isa (Jesus) will return as Messiah. However, the chances of getting into heaven are slim. One must perform many good deeds and even then one can never be sure. Muslim women are afforded even less opportunity to get into heaven, though a truly remarkable Muslim woman might be “good enough” to gain entrance to heaven.
Muslims believe everything happens according to God’s foreknowledge and decree. He alone decides a person’s destiny in life. This comes across in their lives as a sense of fatalism, that nothing they do matters because it’s in Allah’s hands.
Be a Humble Learner
While many Christians tend to focus on the points of difference between the two religions, it is more helpful to focus on the points we have in common. This allows us to build relationships on common ground so we can build trust and authority with a Muslim friend. It’s best not to attack the differences or argue in an authoritarian way. Rather, take the approach of a humble learner. Ask lots of questions about what they believe—for the purpose of understanding, not for the purpose of arguing.
Learning about someone’s beliefs shows respect and helps develop a relationship. Our purpose is not to win arguments (and shame a Muslim acquaintance) but to build relationships over a long haul to let God work as He leads. Besides, it’s not that a Muslim holds the wrong beliefs but that he or she hasn’t heard the right beliefs.
Five Prayers for Muslims
Muslims pray five times a day so I’m offering five prayers for you to pray with me.
Lord, I ask you to . . .
- Guide the misguided into your truth and light so they may know You as the One who Saves.
- Create divine encounters so Muslims may come into contact with someone who knows the truth, even if it is an ordinary person who feels awkward sharing what he or she knows about You.
- Give them increased opportunities to read the Bible for themselves.
- Make yourself known to Muslims in whatever way is best.
- Cause Muslims to question the Six Articles of Faith and other Islamic teachings so they will seek answers and find You.
Ask God how He wants you to pray for Muslims and what more He wants you to do.
Pray 4 Muslim Peoples
This site is no longer being maintained but the information is still valuable. In particular, I’d like to direct you to this page on How to Pray for Unreached People Groups or Nations and the page with Downloadable PDF Profiles of Muslim Nations. The PDFs are a helpful resource. The more you know, the better you can pray.