Islam & Christianity

As Seen In The Bible Page 2

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3 The Practice Of 'Islam' In The Bible

If it is granted that 'Islam' is not a new religion, and that all the Prophets of God, even Jesus (pbuh), and their true followers were 'MUSLIMS', then a question arises as to whether Islamic beliefs and practices are also found in the Bible. Let us take a look.


Islam teaches pure monotheism. The most fundamental belief in Islam is the Oneness of God, with no 'partner' or sharer in His Divinity and Lordship. Without this belief there is no Islam. The Islamic creed is expressed in a simple but highly meaningful statement:

There is no deity except the One True God ("Allah"), and Mohammed is Messenger of God'.

Any person who has a firm belief in this statement is a 'Muslim'. This statement of creed comprises two parts:

The first part concerns the Divinity, Authority and Sovereignty of the One and Only God, that He alone is the Creator, the Sustainer, the Saviour, the Redeemer, and the Deity; and there is none else.

The second part concerns the channel of communication between the Creator and mankind - known as 'Prophethood'. A Muslim has to believe in the Messenger of God and follow his teachings, because he is the only way to God.

We said earlier that Islam was the religion of all the prophets of God. If such is the case, then the Islamic creed before Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) should include both:

The belief in the One True God, that none is worthy of worship except Him,

The belief in the current Messenger of God, as part of the institution of Prophethood.

The belief in the One True God found in the Bible:

This belief means pure monotheism, which remains as it has been throughout history. Examples:

The first of the Ten Commandments:

I am the Lord your God,... You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them.

(Exodus 20:2-5)

. ... all the people of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other

(1 Kings 8:60)

Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.

(Deuteronomy (4:39)

... and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no God was formed, nor shall there be any after me. I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no saviour.

(Isaiah 43:10,11)

. ... There is no other God beside me, a Just God and a Saviour; there is no one besides me. Turn to me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.

(Isaiah 45:21-23)

... I am God, and there is no other, I am God, and there is no one like me.

(Isaiah 46:9)

Jesus (pbuh) also said the same :

... the Lord our God, the Lord is one; ...

(Mark 12:29)

The belief in the Messenger of God found in the Bible:

This belief has varied with time as to the specific individual manifesting prophethood. Thus, at the time of Moses (pbuh) the creed would read:

"and Moses is Messenger of God".

And after the advent of Jesus (pbuh) it would be:

"and Jesus is Messenger of God".

This implies that one should have belief in all the previous Messengers of God, as well as belief in the current Messenger.

Moses (pbuh) declared the word of God to his people. So he was the Messenger of God, or the mediator of God's will. He said to his people:

I stood between the Lord and you to declare to you the word of the Lord...

(Deuteronomy 5:5)

And the people answered Moses (pbuh):

Then tell us whatever the Lord our God tells you. We will listen and obey..

(Deuteronomy 5:27)

The declaration of the will of God started with the first commandment :

I am the Lord your God; you shall have no other God before me.

(Deuteronomy 5:6-7)

From the above statements in the Bible, we get the 'Islamic' creed:

"There is no deity except the one true God, and Moses is Messenger of God."

Jesus (pbuh) stated the complete 'Islamic' creed in a single sentence:

And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

(John 17:3)

What does this verse convey to us? It tells us that eternal life, i.e., salvation, depends on the following two things:

'to know the only true God': Here the word 'know' does not mean passive knowledge; it is something more than this. It implies:

To know that He is the only one worthy of worship, or He is the only deity,

To know that He is the only Saviour and Redeemer, and

To accept Him to be the only one worthy of worship, and to reject all others who are worshiped.

Mere knowledge is of no use. Satan/Lucifer also knew God when he was cursed and rejected because of his refusal to obey God.

Do you believe that there is only one God? Good! The demons also believe and tremble with fear.

(James 2:19)

'to know Jesus Christ as the Messenger of God' implies that only his teachings should be followed, exclusive of other ideologies. The verse (John 17:3) can, therefore, be paraphrased to read in a way parallel to the present Islamic creed:

"There is no deity except the one true God, and Jesus Christ is Messenger of God".

Another example of the 'Islamic' creed:

... the prophet Elijah came near and said, 'O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your command.

(1 Kings 18:36)

We can paraphrase this as: "There is no deity except the one true God, and Elijah is Messenger of God."


Islamic Prayers/Acts Of Worship/Devotion

Muslims pray and worship God in a way similar to that of earlier prophets of God. We find glimpses of this fact in the Bible as follows:

Bowing and prostrating on the ground:

Jesus (pbuh):

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed.

(Matthew 26:39)

Moses (pbuh):

And Moses bowed to the ground and worshiped.

(Exodus 34:8)

Moses and Aaron (pbut):

Then Moses and Aaron went away from the assembly to the entrance of the tent of meeting and fell on their faces...

(Numbers 20:6)

Abraham (pbuh):

Then Abraham fell on his face.

(Genesis 17:3)

Abraham's servant:

When Abraham's servant heard their words, he bowed himself to the ground before the Lord.

(Genesis 24:52)

Joshua (pbuh):

And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped.

(Joshua 5:14)

Ezra and the people:

Then they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.

(Nehemiah 8:6)

Reciting in the five-times-daily Prayers, what could be called, the Lord's prayer of Muslims (the opening chapter of the Qur'an). Compare this with what Jesus (pbuh) is reported to have taught (Matthew 6:9-13).

Islamic prayer
(in the Qur'an)

Christian prayer
(in the Bible)

Part-1: Praising the Lord and remembering His attributes

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. All praise be to God, the Lord of the worlds. Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Master of the Day of Judgment.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

Part-2 : Seeking His help

Thee only do we worship, and thine aid only we seek.

Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

Part-3 : Supplicating for guidance

Guide us to the straight path, the path of those whom thou hast favoured, and those whose (portion) is not wrath, and who go not astray.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom and the power and the glory are yours for ever.

Praying from dawn to evening, as mentioned in Psalms ( 113: 3)

From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised.

( Psalms 113: 3)

Offering prayers at specified times of day, , as did Peter and John, the disciples of Jesus (pbuh), which was the equivalent of the Muslim's afternoon (Asr) prayer:

One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, at three o'clock in the afternoon.

(Acts 3:1)

Supplicating, with hands raised :

Solomon (pbuh):

... he rose from before the altar of the Lord, where he had been kneeling with his hands spread out toward heaven.

(I Kings 8:54)

Ezra and the people:

Then Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all of the people answered, 'Amen, Amen,' lifting up their hands.

(Nehemiah 8:6)

Making ablution before offering prayers :

and Moses and Aaron and his sons used it to wash their hands and their feet. They washed whenever they entered the tent of meeting or approached the attar, as the Lord commanded Moses.

(Exodus 40:31,32)

Taking off shoes at entering the place of prayer, as God commanded Moses (pbuh):

Then he said, 'Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.

(Exodus 3:5)

Then the Lord said to him, 'Take off the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground'.

(Acts 7:33)

The commander of the Lord's army replied, 'Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy'. And Joshua did so.

(Joshua 5:15)

Referring to the temple of God 'the house of prayer' ["Masjid " in Arabic], as Jesus (pbuh) did:

He said to them. It is written. My house shall be called a 'house of prayer'

(Matthew 21:13)

Following the lunar calendar :

From one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before me, says the Lord.

(Isaiah 66: 23)

Fasting is a form of worship in Islam. It is obligatory for a Muslim to keep a fast for one whole month (called Ramadhan) of the year as an exercise in awakening and renewing righteous awareness and action. Jesus (pbuh) fasted for forty days (Matthew 4:2), and about those who allow themselves to sharpen their desire for food and water (i.e., fast) he said,

'Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled:

(Matthew 5:6)

His teaching on fasting (Matthew 6:16) is 'Islamic' :

And when ever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting.

Charity is another obligatory act of worship in Islam, called 'Zakah' (Biblical term: 'tithe'). The laws concerning this are mentioned in (Leviticus 27:30-33 ). Jesus (pbuh) reminded them of the spirit behind it, which is exactly the teaching of Islam:

Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven. . . But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,

(Matthew 6:1,3)

Pilgrimage : The Bible mentions that at a place chosen by God, people should come and glorify His name.

But you are to seek the place the Lord your God will choose from among all your tribes to put his Name there for his dwelling. To that place you must go; there bring your burnt offerings and sacrifices... There, in the presence of the Lord your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the Lord your God has blessed you.

(Deuteronomy 12:5-7)

When Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) came, he carried out this instruction. Muslims go to Mecca - a place [in 'the wilderness of Paran' as the Bible puts it, (Genesis 21)] blessed by God, where Prophet Abraham (pbuh) built a house of prayer, or a 'House of God', ['Baitullah' in Arabic, and 'Bethel' in Hebrew (Genesis 35:15, 28:18)] - to glorify God.

if shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory.

(Isaiah 66:18)

During the pilgrimage, Muslims ritually drink water from a well called Zamzam . This was the well from which Hagar had collected water for her thirsty son Ishmael (pbuh) :

Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. She went and filled the skin of water, and gave the boy a drink.

(Genesis 21:19)

This well (in Mecca, Saudi Arabia) has been producing water ever since.


Some Islamic Practices As Seen In The Bible:

Muslims do not eat pork. The Bible prohibits eating pork.

The pig, for even though it has divided hoofs, and is cleft-footed, it does not chew the cud. Of their flesh you shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall not touch; they are unclean for you.

(Leviticus 11: 7-8, Deuteronomy 14:8)

Those who eat the flesh of pigs are referred to by God as

rebellious people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations.

(Isaiah 65:1-4)

Muslims do not eat the meat of an animal found dead, or an animal torn up by wild beasts. These prohibitions are found in the Bible.

You shall not eat anything that dies of itself;

(Deuteronomy 14:21)

You are to be my holy people. So do not eat the meat of an animal torn by wild beasts;

(Exodus 22:31)

Muslims keep away from whoredom and wine. The Bible gives the reason.

Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the understanding. ... A spirit of prostitution leads them astray; they are unfaithful to God.

(Hosea 4:11,12)

Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.

(Proverbs 20:1)

And the Lord spoke to Aaron: Drink no wine or strong drink, neither you nor your sons, when you enter the tent of meeting, that you may not die; it is a statute forever throughout your generations.

(Leviticus 10:8-9)

And the Lord spoke to Aaron: Drink no wine or strong drink, neither you nor your sons, wh Do not be among winebibbers, or among glutton eaters of meat; for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe them with rags.

(Proverbs 23:20,21)

Do not look at the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. At the last it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder.

(Proverbs 23:31,32)

Muslims are prohibited from participating in usury (interest on money). The Bible commands thus:

If you lend money to any of my people, to the poor among you, you shall not deal with them as a creditor; you shall not exact interest from them.

(Exodus 22:25)

Muslim men are circumcised.
Jesus himself was circumcised (Luke 2:21), and so were Abraham (pbuh) and all the Israelite prophets and the faithful Jewish men.

Dress Code
A Muslim is required to dress modestly. Nuns dress themselves in a Muslim way. The Bible says that Rebecca, Prophet Isaac's wife to be, was covering herself with a veil:

... So she took her veil and covered herself.

(Genesis 24:65)

According to the New Testament, a women not covering the head in public worship is considered disgraceful :

For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or to be shaved, she should wear a veil.

(1 Corinthians 11:6)

Another Islamic dress regulation is seen in the Bible:

A woman shall not wear a man's apparel, nor shall a man put on a woman's garment; for whoever does such things is abhorrent to the Lord your God.

(Deuteronomy 22:5)

Muslims greet each other by saying 'Assalamu Alaikum', which means 'Peace be upon you'. The Bible gives us evidence that this was the practice of Jesus (pbuh):

... Jesus came and stood among them and said, 'Peace be with you'.

(John 20:19, 21, 26, Luke 24:36)

In fact, Jesus (pbuh) instructed his disciples, when he was sending them on a mission, that they should use this greeting when they enter a house. This is an 'Islamic' teaching.

As you enter a house, greet it [say 'Peace be with you' - in TEV]. If the house is worthy let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you

(Matthew 10:12-13)

Muslims frequently use the phrase 'Insha Allah', which means 'God willing' or 'if God wills'. We find this instruction in the Bible:

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that'.

(James 4:14,15)

We wonder how many of these practices are observed by Christians today. Then who can better be called true followers of Jesus Christ - the Muslims, who are well-known for these practices, or those who call themselves Christians?

Thus, it is clear that what Muslims do is not something new or strange, as it may seem to Christians, but is Biblical. It is also clear that 'Islam' was the religion of all the Prophets of God. Islam was very much the religion of Jesus (pbuh).

Not only this, the continuity of the Abrahamic faith till Mohammed (pbuh) is also seen in the Bible, as we find prophecies, both in the Old and the New Testaments, about the coming of Prophet Mohammed (pbuh). This matter is a topic by itself and needs a full and separate discussion. Two articles on this subject are reprinted in the Appendix.

This page last updated 10/11/2009 12:39 p.m.