Chapter 8
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Click here to purchase a printed copy of this bookChapter 8: Mohammed and Jesus Christ

by Robert Morey[1]

S

ince Islam claims that Mohammed and Jesus of Nazareth were both Muslims and both prophets sent by Allah, these two mighty prophets must coincide in all points and never contradict each other. After all, if the same Allah sent both of them, it is only logical to assume that their ministries and messages cannot in principle contradict each other. Otherwise, Allah would be contradicting himself. This is, of course, received as a tenet of faith by the orthodox Muslims and is not open to question in their minds.

Yet Westerners cannot gratuitously accept such a belief without first comparing the ministries and messages of these men to see if, in fact, they are in complete accord. But how is this to be done? Everyone agrees that the life and teaching of Mohammed can be reconstructed from the Qur’an. But what about Jesus of Nazareth?

Some Muslims attempt to block any attempt to compare the biblical Jesus to the quranic Mohammed by claiming that the Bible is hopelessly corrupt and that the Jesus of the New Testament is not the true Jesus. But this approach lands them in yet deeper problems. Because the Qur’an uses the New Testament Gospels for information on Jesus (such as His virgin birth), if they are corrupt, then so is the Qur’an.

Modern Muslim attempts to limit our information about Jesus to what the Qur’an says about Him once again reflect circular reasoning. In one friendly debate with a Muslim student, the following conversation took place:

Muslim: The Qur’an is true in all things.

Non-Muslim: But it contradicts the biblical Jesus.

Muslim: Then the Bible is corrupt.

Non-Muslim: But how do you know that the Bible is corrupt? Do you have any textual proof.

Muslim: I don’t need any textual proof because I know that the Bible is corrupt.

Non-Muslim: But how do you know this?

Muslim: The Qur’an is true in all things.

Perhaps the best way to deal with the issue is to lay aside all a priori assumptions of the inspiration of either the Bible or the Qur’an and simply compare the Bible and the Qur’an as two literary documents. This literary approach will help us stay objective in comparing the life of Jesus and the lie of Mohammed.

In this literary comparison, we will restrict ourselves to the founding literary documents of each religion. The life of Mohammed will be drawn only from the Qur’an, just as the life of Jesus will be drawn only from the New Testament. This will keep things honest and fair. We will not utilize any of the later Muslim legends which try desperately to elevate Mohammed’s life above mediocrity and add to it elements of the miraculous. Due to the limitations of this book, we can give only a brief survey of a number of the comparisons between Mohammed and Jesus. Those readers who wish to study this issue in depth should consult Alfred Guillaume’s book The Traditions of Islam, which is the fullest treatment we know on the subject.

Prophecy

The birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus were clearly prophesied in the Old Testament, according to the New Testament. Several examples will suffice. Micah 5:2 gives us the very name of the town in which the Messiah would be born. On the day Christ died, no less than 33 Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled. The coming of Christ was preceded by the preaching of John the Baptist, in the spirit and power of Elijah, according to the prophecy in Isaiah 40 and Malachi 4.

This is in stark contrast to the coming of Mohammed, which was not predicted by pagan soothsayers, Old Testament prophets, or New Testament apostles. That this point is well taken is provided by the extreme lengths that some Muslims will go to in trying to manufacture some biblical prophecies for the coming of Mohammed. Some of these claims are so outlandish that they need only be noted to refute them. For example, one American black Muslim tried to convince me that the word “amen” in the Bible actually meant “Ahmend,” that is to say, Mohammed!

The vain attempt of some modern Muslims to claim that when Jesus predicted the coming of a comforter in John chapters 14, 15, and 16, He was referring to Mohammed, falls to the ground when one reads John 14:26 where the comforter is specifically identified as the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in the name of Jesus Christ. Other biblical passages have been cited by Muslim apologists from time to time but without any concern for the original language or the context of the text. They have been ably dealt with by Western scholars.[2] Mohammed never claimed to be the Holy Spirit who had come in the name of Jesus Christ. Thus we find that while the coming of Christ was preceded by numerous prophecies, the coming of Mohammed was not predicted by anyone.

Births

The birth of Jesus Christ was miraculous in that He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the virgin Mary. The Qur’an and orthodox Islam fully accept the virgin birth of Jesus. It is only in modern times that we find some small heretical Muslim groups who deny and ridicule the doctrine of the virgin birth of Jesus. They do this out of a reaction to the fact that there was nothing miraculous or supernatural about the birth of Mohammed. He was the natural product of the sexual union of his father and mother.

Sinlessness

According to the New Testament, Jesus Christ lived a perfect and sinless life: “God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become God’s righteousness in him.”[3] When His enemies came to accuse Jesus before Pilate and Herod, they had to invent charges because no one could find anything against Him. But when we turn to the life of Mohammed, we find that he was a normal human being engaged in the same sins which afflict all of us. He lied, he cheated, he lusted, he failed to keep his word, etc. Mohammed was neither perfect nor sinless.

After I had given a lecture on Islam at the University of Texas (Austin) in 1991, I was challenged by some Muslim students to prove that Mohammed was a sinner. My first response was to point out that the burden of proof was not on me but on them. I then asked, “Where in the Qur’an is it ever stated that Mohammed was sinless?” They could not refer me to a single passage in which such an idea is even suggested, much less taught. They demanded that I show from the Qur’an where Mohammed was said to be a sinner. I answered their challenge by citing several passages from the Qur’an which clearly reveal to any honest reader that Mohammed was a sinner.

For example, in Sura 18:110, and elsewhere, Mohammed is commanded by Allah:

Say, I am but a man like yourselves.

Nowhere in the Qur’an is Mohammed said to be sinless. Instead, Allah tells Mohammed that he is no different than any other man. Those Muslims who claim that Mohammed was sinless have failed to note Sura 40:55, where Allah told Mohammed to repent of his sins!

Ask forgiveness of thy sin.

Pickthal’s translation of Sura 48: 1-2 states:

Lo! We have given thee,

(O Mohammed) signal victory,

that Allah may forgive thee

of thy sin, that which is past and that which is to

come, and may perfect His

favour unto thee, and guide

thee on a right path.

Not only was Mohammed commanded to repent of his sins and to seek forgiveness, but he was also reminded of his past sins that Allah had already forgiven and of future sins which would need future forgiveness! Mohammed was not sinless according to the Qur’an. He was just one more poor sinner in need of forgiveness and redemption.

Miracles

During his lifetime, Jesus did many great and mighty miracles. He healed the sick, raised the dead, cast out demons, and even ruled the wind and the waves. But according to the Qur’an, Mohammed never performed a single miracle. Consider Sura 17:91-95, where the unbelievers say they will not believe in Mohammed until they see miracles:

And they say: “We shall not believe in you (O Mohammed), until you cause a spring to gush forth from the earth for us; or you have a garden of date-palms and grapes, and cause rivers to gush forth in their midst abundantly; or you cause the heaven to fall upon us in pieces, as you have pretended, or you bring Allah and the angels before (us) face to face; or you have a house of adornable materials (like silver and pure gold, etc.), or you ascend up into the sky, and even then we will put no faith in your ascension until you bring down for us a Book that we would read.” Say (O Mohammed): “Glorified (and Exalted) be my Lord (Allah) above all that evil they (polytheists) associate with Him! Am I anything but a man, sent as a Messenger?” And nothing prevented men from believing when the guidance came to them, except that they said: “Has Allah sent a man as (His) Messenger?” Say: “If there were on the earth, angels walking about in peace and security, We should certainly have sent down for them from the heaven an angel as a Messenger.”

The only sign that Mohammed could point to was the existence of his “revelations” — i.e., the suras that made up the Qur’an.[4] Alfred Guillaume points out:

Controversy with Christians on the rival merits of Jesus and Mohammed may fairly be regarded as the origin of the pretended miracles, flatly contradicting the plain statement of the great Arabian and those of many of his immediate followers that he was not sent with power to work miracles. Whether the object of the inventors was to elevate their prophet to a position equal to that held by Jesus in the estimation of His servants, or whether it was to furnish themselves and their pupils with a messenger of God who satisfied a natural craving of the human heart for a visible manifestation of divine power it is not our purpose to determine. There are good reasons for believing that deliberate imitation was resorted to for the reasons already given, and because the ashabu-l-hadith did not stop at ascribing the works of Christ to their prophet. His words and those of his apostles are freely drawn on and put into the mouth of Mohammed.[5]

Mohammed did no miracles. He did not heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons, or rule the wind and the waves. He had no more power than any normal man. Ali Dashti comments:

Moslems, as well as others, have disregarded the historical facts. They have continually striven to turn this man [Mohammed] into an imaginary superhuman being, a sort of God in human clothes, and have generally ignored the ample evidence of his humanity. They have been ready… to present these fantasies as miracles.[6]

Many Iranians have been raised on a diet of myth and are ready to believe that any emamzada, of however ancestry, can at any moment perform a miracle. But if they were to read the Qor’an, they would be surprised to find no report of a miracle in it at all. They would learn from twenty or more Qor’anic passages that whenever the Prophet Mohammed was asked by doubters to perform a miracle, he either stayed silent or said that he would not do so because he was a human being like any other, with no function except to communicate, to be a “bringer of good news and a warner.”[7]

The Love of God

According to the New Testament, Jesus preached the love of God and was the greatest example of that love:

For this is how God loved the world: He gave his unique Son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but have eternal life.[8]

In contrast, we do not have any record in the Qur’an of Mohammed ever preaching the love of God. As a matter of fact, neither God’s love for man nor man’s love for God plays any significant role in the preaching of Mohammed, the Qur’an, or the religion of Islam. Whereas Christianity can point to the coming of Christ as the greatest proof and example that God loves mankind, Islam cannot point to anything that reveals the love of God.

Human and Divine Nature

According to the New Testament, Jesus Christ was unique in that He was divine as well as human. This is why Jesus is called “God” in these passages:

In the beginning, the Word existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. … No one has ever seen God. The unique God, who is close to the Father’s side, has revealed him.[9]

Thomas answered him, saying “My Lord and my God!”[10]

To them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, Christ descended, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.[11]

…as we wait for the blessed hope and the glorious appearance of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.[12]

But about the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the scepter of your kingdom is a righteous scepter.…” And “In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.”[13]

From Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained a faith that is as valuable as ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.[14]

When we turn to Mohammed, we find that he was only a man.

On Beauty of Speech

When you study the speeches of Jesus as given in the Gospels, for example, the Sermon on the Mount, you find that Jesus was the greatest speaker who ever lived. Even His enemies had to confess that no man ever spoke as He spoke (John 7:46).

But when you turn to the ecstatic, confused speeches of Mohammed as found in the Qur’an, you do not find anything outstanding. There is nothing which matches the beauty, substance, or style of the way that Jesus preached the gospel during His lifetime.

A High Moral Example

The way Jesus lived and the way He was willing to die for sinners has given us a high moral example to follow. But when you turn to the example of Mohammed, you do not find a high moral example; you find him involved in many acts which must be deemed as immoral and unjust.

Killing or Robbing

Jesus never killed or robbed anyone. If He had done so, this surely would have been brought up during His trial. When we turn to look at the life of Mohammed, we find that he clearly killed and robbed people in the name of Allah, according to the Qur’an.

Coercion

Jesus never used physical violence to force people to believe His message or to accept Him as the Messiah. As a matter of fact, when Peter took out his sword, Jesus told him to put it back in its sheath. Physical persuasion through violence was not the way of His kingdom (Matthew 26: 51-54). But when we turn to the example of Mohammed, we find that he frequently used physical violence to force people to give up their idols and to accept Islam.

Directing Disciples to Kill

Jesus never instructed his followers by way of command, example, or precept to kill in His name, to rob in His name, or to subdue enemies in His name. But Mohammed did. He taught his disciples by example, command, and precept that they could and should kill and rob in Allah’s name and force people to submit to Islam.

On Taking Another Man’s Wife

Jesus did not take any man’s wife to be his wife. But Mohammed did. This is one of the most distressing aspects of Mohammed’s life. Mohammed’s adopted son, Zaid, had married a beautiful young woman with whom he was deeply in love. Then one day, according to early Muslim tradition, Mohammed saw Zaid’s wife without her veil. Her beauty was such that he lusted after her. He asked Zaid to divorce his wife and to give her to him. But Zaid and his wife refused such an outrageous request.

Faced with the refusal of Zaid and his wife to dissolve their marriage, Mohammed had a convenient “revelation” from Allah which not only commanded Zaid to give up his wife to Mohammed but also decreed that there was no evil in a father-in-law taking his daughter-in-law away from his own adopted son! Zaid and his wife were told that they did not have any choice in the matter. They had to submit to the “will of Allah.”

It is not for any believer, man or woman, when God and His Messenger have decreed a matter, to have the choice in the affair. Whosoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has gone astray into manifest error. When you said to him whom Allah had blessed and you had favoured, “Keep your wife to yourself, and fear Allah,” and you were concealing within yourself what Allah should reveal, fearing other men; and Allah has better right for you to fear him. So when Zaid had accomplished what he would of her, then We gave her in marriage to you, so that there should be any fault in the believers, touching the wives of their adopted sons, when they have accomplished what they would of them; and Allah’s commandment must be performed. There is no fault in the prophet, touching what Allah had ordained for him.[15]

It is no wonder that this passage in the Qur’an has led many Muslims to renounce Islam.

Child Brides

Jesus was never a child molester or someone who was sexually involved with young children. But this is the only description that one can give of Mohammed’s marriage to a nine-year-old girl who was still playing with her dolls according to the Hadith.

Unclean Foods

Jesus released his followers from all Jewish dietary laws and in so doing made all foods clean.

Then he called to the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand! Nothing that goes into a person from the outside can make him unclean. It is what comes out of a person that makes a person unclean. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen!”

When he had left the crowd and gone home, his disciples began asking him about the parable. He said to them, “Are you so ignorant? Don’t you know that nothing that goes into a person from the outside can make him unclean? For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and is expelled as waste.” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) He continued, “It is what comes out of a person that makes a person unclean. For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil thoughts come, as well as sexual immorality, stealing, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, cheating, shameless lust, envy, slander, arrogance, and foolishness. All these things come from within and make a person unclean.”[16]

Mohammed, on the other hand, maintained the dietary laws of his day, and so his followers are forbidden to eat pork or drink wine.

On Dying for Others

When Jesus Christ died, He died for the sins of His people in order to deliver them from the wrath of God:

For I passed on to you the most important points of what I received: Christ died for our sins in keeping with the Scriptures, he was buried, he was raised on the third day in keeping with the Scriptures—and is still alive![17]

But when Mohammed died, he died for his own sins. He did not die for anyone.

The Resurrection

Jesus did not remain dead. He conquered sin, hell, and the grave, and physically rose again on the third day in the same body that had hung on the cross. Just as He died for our sins, He arose again according to the Scriptures for our justification.

He was handed over to death because of our sins and was raised to life because of our justification.[18]

But when Mohammed died, he stayed dead. He did not rise from the dead. Mohammed is dead while Jesus Christ is alive.

The Ascension

Jesus ascended bodily into heaven. This was witnessed by the disciples in Acts 1:9-11.

After saying this, he was taken up while they were watching, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, two men in white robes were standing right beside them. They asked, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This same Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you saw him go up into heaven.”

But Mohammed did not ascend into heaven. The Qur’an never states that he ascended.

Heavenly Intercession

Jesus is now in heaven as our intercessor and Savior, the only mediator between God and man.

There is one God. There is also one mediator between God and human beings—a human, Christ Jesus.[19]

But Mohammed is not an intercessor or a savior. In fact, the Qur’an states in Sura 6:70 that there is no intercessor or savior:

…there will be neither a protector nor an intercessor for them besides Him [Allah], so that they may fear Allah and keep their duty to Him…. [H]e will find for himself no protector or intercessor besides Allah, and even if he offers every ransom, it will not be accepted from him. 

Under Islam, you have to save yourself.

Worship

In the New Testament, Jesus was worshiped as a living Savior. The incident is recorded in John 20:28:

Thomas answered him, saying, “My Lord and my God!”

But the Qur’an never speaks of worshiping Mohammed. That would be blasphemous. Muslims will admit that Mohammed should not be worshiped by anyone because he was only a man.

Personal Relationship

According to the New Testament, people can have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as He enters into their hearts through His Spirit at conversion. This is why Christians talk about their love of Jesus. On the other hand, what Muslim speaks of Mohammed in terms of loving him? There is no personal relationship possible with Mohammed. Mohammed is dead!

Returning to Earth

Jesus will return to resurrect and judge all men. Even orthodox Muslims will often admit that this is clearly true. But at the same time it must be stated that there is no teaching in the Qur’an that says that Mohammed will return one day or that he will resurrect or judge anyone.

In Search of the Historical Mohammed

Now to be sure, Western scholars are perfectly aware of the fact that in later conflicts between Muslims and Christians, there were those Muslims who attempted to renovate the life of Mohammed so that it would more closely correspond to the life of Jesus Christ. According to Ali Dashti, these stories are “an example of myth-making and history-fabrication of Moslems.”[20] These later legends claim predictions were made for Mohammed’s coming, add a supernatural element to his birth, depict him doing miracles, and claim that he was sinless and perfect and that he ascended into heaven. But these claims are not found in the Qur’an or in early Muslim traditions. As all the standard reference works point out, they are later fabrications made by embarrassed Muslims who were faced with the rather obvious fact that Mohammed was inferior to Jesus Christ. This led them to remold the life of Mohammed to parallel the life and miracles of Jesus. As Professor Guillaume observes:

Muslim theologians… borrowed also events from the life of Jesus, attributing them to their prophet.[21]

Mohammedan apologists could not afford to allow their apostle to labour under the disadvantage apparent when his everyday mundane life was compared with the mighty works of Christ… The curious and interesting fact is that the later picture of Mohammed approximates… that of the Jesus of the Gospels.[22]

A Hindu Parallel

We are reminded of the followers of Krishna in India who, in response to the Christian teaching that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, immediately answered “Well, then Krishna, too, must have died on a cross for our sins.” This fabrication did not last long as it was revealed that in all the literary sources concerning Krishna, no such death or crucifixion was mentioned until after the followers of Krishna had engaged in debate with Christians.

In the same way, Muslim legendary material concerning the miracles of Mohammed all date after heated debates between Christians and Muslims. These myths and legends were created in response to the challenge that Jesus Christ was obviously superior to Mohammed.

Conclusion

Anyone who rationally examines the differences between the biblical Jesus and the quranic Mohammed must come to the conclusion that Jesus and Mohammed did not both represent the same God. They did not live or preach like each other. On all the essential issues, they were poles apart.


[1]This chapter is reproduced from Chapter 7 of Dr. Morey’s book The Islamic Invasion (Las Vegas, NV: Christian Scholars Press, 2001).

[2]Muslims have cited such passages as Genesis 49:10; Deuteronomy 18:15-18; 32:21; 33:2; Psalm 45; 149; Isaiah 21:7 and others. For detailed Western responses to these claims, see C. Pfander, The Balance of Truth (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1910), pp. 228ff; John Gilchrist, Is Mohammed Foretold in the Bible? (Benoni, South Africa: Jesus to the Muslims, 1987). See also the article by Percy Smith, “Did Jesus Foretell Ahmed?” in Muslim World, vol. 12 (1922), P.71ff.

[3]2 Corinthians 5:21.

[4]See also Sura 29:47-51.

[5]Guillaume, The Traditions of Islam (London: Clarendon Press, 1924), p. 138.

[6]Ali Dashti, 23Years: A Study of the Prophetic Career of Mohammed (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1985), p.1.

[7]Ibid., p. 38.

[8]John 3:16

[9]John 1:1, 18

[10]John 20:28

[11]Romans 9:5

[12]Titus 2:13

[13]Hebrews 1:8, 10

[14]2 Peter 1:1

[15]Sura 33:36-38.

[16]Mark 7:14-21

[17]I Corinthians 15:3,4

[18]Romans 4:25

[19]1 Timothy 2:5

[20]Ali Dashti, p. 38.

[21]Guillaume, p. 133.

[22]Ibid., pp. 134-135.


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