Question and answer details
|Mohamed Ashiq Nil|
|Dear scholars,I would like to ask one question: What is the difference between Islam & Christianity and how are they similar to each other? Who are the Christians according to ISLAM? But do we hate Christians? Give reasons.|
AnswerThank you for your question.
Before I go into comparing and contrasting Islam and Christianity, I think it is worth mentioning something about "hate". There is no verse in the Qur'an that advocates that Muslims should hate anything or anyone. There are verses in the Qur'an that effectively forbid Muslims from choosing Christians and Jews as their closest friends and allies, but this only applies to those who are opposing Islam and fighting the Muslims. Even in such circumstances Muslims are not encouraged in the Qur'an to hate their enemies.
Defining who is a Christian and who is not, is not really an issue in Islam. There are certain excesses that some Christian groups indulge in and these are refuted in the Qur'an. Some Christians will agree with the assertions of the Qur'an some will not. For example, we find the following verse on Trinity:
Many Christians would not subscribe to the wording here that "God is one of three", rather they would say God is one, but is made of three persons, father, son and holy ghost. I don't want to go into the convolutions that they make. I certainly don't want to justify them. All I say here is that if I asked many Christians "Is God one of three?" they would say "No". Other refutations of the teachings of some Christians can be found in the Qur'an, but equally some Christians will claim that those verses don't apply to their variety of Christianity. One key point of disagreement is perhaps best shown in the Qur'an in the following verse:
In Islam there is no established church which we must turn to in order to find Allah's guidance. We can go direct to the sources of the Qur'an and the historical records of Muhammad's living example. By setting up an institution with the unique authority to set out morals for people, Christianity opened the door for the corruption of the religion through the corruption of the Church. To the point, quite early on where obeying the Church for many people meant disobeying the revealed laws. To some extent this has changed in recent times as the Catholic (meaning all embracing) Church has become only one of many churches. But still, there is the prevalent idea that "salvation" is through placing yourself in submission not primarily to God but to your church and the doctrines it teaches.
Another verse in the Qur'an that makes this clear is:
This difference has led to a doctrine of exclusive "salvation" for the Catholic church and for many other churches sometimes with apparently tiny differences in doctrine. This is a big problem for Christianity and led to bitter, often violent conflicts among the adherents of the various churches (Incidentally this is why the USA constitution set out to keep the state from supporting any church). Islam refutes such exclusivist claims as is clear from several verses in the Qur'an. In particular:
Moving on to the similarities. Both Islam and Christianity accept Jesus as a teacher of God's guidance, to the extent that we know his teachings for sure, Muslims and Christians have in common the adherence to those teachings. This gives a large area of common ground with regards to general morality and shared values. This of course depends on the Christians concerned but there are some who are indeed very close, as we read in the Qur'an: