Important Teachings of the Quran
God is depicted as having 99 names, but love is not one of them. He is the creator of all things, which are created in submission (Islam) to him. He is all powerful, transcendent, and unique. He cannot be compared to anything or anyone. He cannot be personally known.
The doctrine of tawhid says God is one (Surah 121). Therefore, adding any “partner” to God in worship is condemned (shirk). He does not have a son nor is he one in three. As such, Christians would be categorized as infidels, since they worship a trinitarian God.
God can simply will to overlook sin without having to forgive it.
The Arabic word for God is Allah. It is used by Arabs of all faiths, including Christians. In fact, the Christian God is referred to as Allah. Interestingly, Allah speaks in plural form in the Quran (we). This is not thought to be an indication of the Trinity, but rather as a “royal we.”
Adam is created by Allah as the first man. The Quran does not indicate anything about man being in the image of God because God cannot be compared to anyone else.
Man must simply worship Allah by following his will, without knowing the end because Allah alone knows if a man is following the will of Allah.
A man can marry up to four women, but if he wants to be conservative, he could marry only one.
Allah has sent messengers and books to different people at various times. The basic message is the same: forsake shirk and embrace tawhid.
These include the Torah, the Psalms, the Gospel and the Quran. The Quran says all these books and messengers have the same messages, and even Muhammad calls people to consult these books to confirm the message in the Quran.
The Quran teaches that all the prophets and messages who were ridiculed and killed will be vindicated.
Muhammad is mentioned by name only four times in the Quran. More often he is called the “messenger” or the “prophet” or he is addressed in the second person by Allah. The Quran has little to say about Muhammad’s life.
The Quran teaches that there will be a day of judgment for all. Some will receive rewards and go to heaven and others will be condemned and punished in fire. It all comes down to how one’s deeds are weighed on a scale.
Heaven and Hell
The Quran has a futuristic orientation: paradise and hell. Paradise is the reward for faith, obedience, and deeds. It is a garden with trees, streams, and beautiful maidens. Hell is punishment for unbelief and wickedness, a place of fire and boiling intended for the eternal torment of those Allah does not approve of and reward.
A large contrast with biblical teachings is the lack of eternal fellowship with and basking in the glory of God in heaven. Paradise is rather intended to be a place of satisfaction of human desires.
Jihad and Warfare
The Quran has a lot to say about struggling, striving, and fighting in the way of Allah, including against unbelievers. Muslims have distinguished between inner jihad (a spiritual struggle to fight sin and submit to Allah) and outer jihad (physical fighting against the enemies of Allah). The Quran mentions both. Muhammad and other Muslims have advocated for both. There are however many questions that are left open for interpretation: Is the fighting defensive or offensive? Is it directed towards all non-Muslims? Or just polytheists? Do these verses apply to Muhammad’s day or to all Muslims at all times?
The manner these questions are answered indicates how a Muslim would apply jihad in his life.
The Quran has a lot to say about Jesus (Isa). He is said to have been born miraculously to the Virgin Mary, and was sent to the people of Israel as a prophet and a messenger confirming the Torah. He is called the Messiah without explaining what this means.
He did many miracles, even during his infancy, an idea that cannot be substantiated by the New Testament. He lived a sinless life. He received a word from God, the Injil (Gospel), which he delivered. He however is not the incarnate son of God, never claimed to be, never directed his followers to worship him, and was not crucified. He as such did not atone for sin on the cross.
The Quran does not reflect an historically accurate picture of the Jesus mentioned in the Gospels and in human history. His role is simply to affirm what Muhammad and the Quran teach. While Jesus is spoken of more highly in the Quran than anyone else, and while there are a few similarities between Isa and the Jesus of the Gospels, they are not to be considered the same.
Jews and Christians are called in the Quran the “people of the book,” having received scriptures from Allah. Those who believe in Allah will be rewarded. They are however criticized throughout, and accused of denying the revelation of Allah, the teachings of the book, corrupting the books, and denying the oneness of Allah, and as such will be condemned.
Unfortunately, many Muslims think that Christians believe there are three gods (Mary, Jesus, and Allah), and are as such guilty of blasphemy. In fact, some Muslims think that Christians believe God had a relationship with Mary in order to have Jesus. Given these thoughts, it is taught that Christians should not be allied with, and at times should be fought against. Some of the major differences according to the Quran are that Christians deny the teachings of the Quran and do not side with Muhammad.
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