Islam is a religious system begun in the seventh century by Muhammad. Muslims  follow the teachings of the Qur’an and strive to keep the Five  Pillars.

The History of Islam
In the seventh  century, Muhammad claimed the angel Gabriel visited him. During these angelic  visitations, which continued for about 23 years until Muhammad’s death, the  angel purportedly revealed to Muhammad the words of Allah (the Arabic word for  “God” used by Muslims). These dictated revelations compose the Qur’an, Islam’s  holy book. Islam means “submission,” deriving from a root word that means  “peace.” The word Muslim means “one who submits to  Allah.”

The Doctrine of Islam
Muslims summarize  their doctrine in six articles of faith:
1. Belief in one Allah: Muslims  believe Allah is one, eternal, creator, and sovereign.
2. Belief in the  angels
3. Belief in the prophets: The prophets include the biblical prophets  but end with Muhammad as Allah’s final prophet.
4. Belief in the revelations  of Allah: Muslims accept certain portions of the Bible, such as the Torah and  the Gospels. They believe the Qur’an is the preexistent, perfect word of Allah.
5. Belief in the last day of judgment and the hereafter: Everyone will be  resurrected for judgment into either paradise or hell.
6. Belief in  predestination: Muslims believe Allah has decreed everything that will happen.  Muslims testify to Allah’s sovereignty with their frequent phrase,  inshallah, meaning, “if God wills.”

The Five Pillars of  Islam
These five tenets compose the framework of obedience for  Muslims:
1. The testimony of faith (shahada): “la ilaha illa  allah. Muhammad rasul Allah.” This means, “There is no deity but Allah.  Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” A person can convert to Islam by stating  this creed. The shahada shows that a Muslim believes in Allah alone as deity and  believes that Muhammad reveals Allah.
2. Prayer (salat): Five ritual  prayers must be performed every day.
3. Giving (zakat): This  almsgiving is a certain percentage given once a year.
4. Fasting  (sawm): Muslims fast during Ramadan in the ninth month of the Islamic  calendar. They must not eat or drink from dawn until sunset.
5. Pilgrimage  (hajj): If physically and financially possible, a Muslim must make the  pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia at least once. The hajj is performed  in the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar.

A Muslim’s entrance into  paradise hinges on obedience to these Five Pillars. Still, Allah may reject  them. Even Muhammad was not sure whether Allah would admit him to paradise  (Surah 46:9; Hadith 5.266).

An Evaluation of Islam
Compared to Christianity, Islam has some similarities but significant  differences. Like Christianity, Islam is monotheistic. However, Muslims reject  the Trinity—that God has revealed Himself as one in three Persons: the Father,  Son, and Holy Spirit.

Muslims claim that Jesus was a mere prophet—not  God’s Son. Islam asserts that Jesus, though born of a virgin, was created like  Adam. Many Muslims do not believe Jesus died on the cross. They do not  understand why Allah would allow His prophet Isa (the Islamic word for “Jesus”)  to die a torturous death. Yet the Bible shows how the death of the perfect Son  of God was essential to pay for the sins of believers (Isaiah 53:5-6; John 3:16; 14:6; 1 Peter 2:24).

Islam teaches that the Qur’an is the final authority and the last revelation of  Allah. The Bible, however, was completed in the first century with the Book of  Revelation. The Bible warns against anyone adding to or subtracting from God’s  Word (Deuteronomy  4:2; Proverbs  30:6; Galatians  1:6-12; Revelation  22:18). The Qur’an, as a claimed addition to God’s Word, directly disobeys  God’s command.

Muslims believe that paradise can be earned through  keeping the Five Pillars. The Bible, in contrast, reveals that sinful man can  never measure up to the holy God (Romans 3:236:23). Only by God’s grace  may sinners be saved through repentant faith in Jesus (Acts 20:21; Ephesians  2:8-9).

Because of these essential differences and contradictions,  Islam and Christianity cannot both be true. The Bible and Qur’an cannot both be  God’s Word. The truth has eternal consequences.

“Beloved, do not believe  every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because  many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of  God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from  God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the  spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it  is already in the world” (1 John  4:1-4; see also John  3:35-36).

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