Islamic Views of Other Faiths



How does Islam view other religions?

Contrary to Islam's reputation of converting by the sword, the Qur'an is clear that there must be "no compulsion in religion." {1} Yet Muslims are not pluralistic in their worldview - they consider their religion to the be the true religion and invite people of all races, nationalities and religions to be part of it.

Islam is closely connected to the two other Abrahamic religions, Judaism and Christianity. In fact, the Qur'an explains that the religion of the Jews and Christians is the same as that revealed to Muhammad, and Allah is God of them all.

The same religion has He established for you as that which He enjoined on Noah - the which We have sent by inspiration to thee - and that which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses, and Jesus: Namely, that ye should remain steadfast in religion, and make no divisions therein: to those who worship other things than Allah, hard is the (way) to which thou callest them. Allah chooses to Himself those whom He pleases, and guides to Himself those who turn to Him. {2}

Moreover, We gave Moses the Book, completing (Our favour) to those who would do right, and explaining all things in detail, and a guide and a mercy, that they might believe in the meeting with their Lord. And this is a Book which We have revealed as a blessing: so follow it and be righteous, that ye may receive mercy: Lest ye should say: "The Book was sent down to two Peoples before us, and for our part, we remained unacquainted with all that they learned by assiduous study:" {Qur'an 6:154-56}




However, Jews and Christians have not been completely responsible with their revelation and should still be called to the Muslim faith:

And they became divided only after Knowledge reached them,- through selfish envy as between themselves. Had it not been for a Word that went forth before from thy Lord, tending to a Term appointed, the matter would have been settled between them: But truly those who have inherited the Book after them are in suspicious disquieting doubt concerning it.

Now then, for that reason, call them to the Faith, and stand steadfast as thou art commanded, nor follow thou their vain desires; but say: "I believe in the Book which Allah has sent down; and I am commanded to judge justly between you. Allah is our Lord and your Lord: for us is the responsibility for our deeds, and for you for your deeds. There is no contention between us and you. Allah will bring us together, and to Him is our Final Goal.

But those who dispute concerning Allah after He has been accepted,- futile is their dispute in the Sight of their Lord: on them will be a Penalty terrible. {3}

Muhammad spoke approvingly of Jews and Christians as fellow "People of the Book," and the Qur'an even allows a Muslim man to take a Jewish or Christian woman for his wife. {4} It also expresses admiration for the Jews, in that "they know the Book as they know their own children!" {5}

As seen in the quote above, Muslims consider the prophets of Judaism and Christianity to be true messengers of God, but hold Muhammad to be the last and greatest of these.

Although the Qur'an teaches that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary {6}, it rejects the divinity of Jesus. It also explicitly condemns the doctrine of the Trinity, which it seems to interpret as consisting of God, Jesus and Mary:

Believe therefore in God and His Apostles and say not "Three."

They misbelieve who say, "Verily God is the third of three." The Messiah, the son of Mary, is only a prophet...and his mother was a confessor, they both ate food.

And when God shall say, "O Jesus son of Mary hast thou said unto mankind, "Take me and my mother as two Gods besides God?" {7}

Muslims reject both the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. According to the Qur'an, Jesus escaped the crucifixion and ascended directly to heaven . {8}

Despite these sharp theological differences, the Qur'an does suggest there is hope for the salvation of Jews and Christians: at the Last Day, distinct communities will be judged according to "their own book" {9} and:

Those who believe [in the Qur'an], and those who follow the Jewish, and the Christians, and the Sabians, any who believe in God and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. {10}

References

  1. Qur'an 2:256.
  2. Qur'an 42:13.
  3. 42:14-16.
  4. 5:5
  5. 2:141, 6:20
  6. "She said: My Lord! How can I have a child when no mortal hath touched me? He said: So. Allah createth what He will. If He decreeth a thing, He saith unto it only: Be! and it is." (3:47)
  7. Qur'an 4:169; 5:77; and 5:116.
  8. Qur'an 4:155,156.
  9. Qur'an 45:27-29.
  10. Qur'an 2:62.

Muslim beliefs about God, Allah