Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God?

Shalom and Assalamualaikum

Muslims and Christians, the adherents of the world’s two largest religions, have co-existed for more than 1400 years. While both faiths teach peace and love, many lives and properties were lost over the years as a result of Muslims and Christians’ dispute on God and their religious practices.

Both faiths have so much in common but yet their adherents are very uninformed about each other and are not aware that the Quran says that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. Some argue the literal interpretation of this passage as the divinity of Allah and Trinity is different, but one thing is true: both agree on worshiping monotheist God, the One and only God.

 “And argue not with the People of the Book, except by what is best, save such of them as act unjustly. But say: We believe in what which has been revealed to us and revealed to you, and our God and your God is One, and to Him we submit”                                            (Al-Ankabul 29:46 Translation – Maulana Muhammad Ali)

 How true is this statement? or how can we interpret this verse? Professor Volf of Yale University attempts to unfold this mystical truth through a theological explanation. In the last paragraph of his writing ‘A Christian Response to Muslims Allah and the Trinity,’ he writes that this paper is directed primarily to the Christians and his goal is:

“to remind Christians that Muslims objections to the doctrine of the Trinity and the uncompromising of God’s oneness from which this objection stems are not in themselves good enough reasons for Christians to think that they have radically different understanding of God than Muslims. Unity of God doesn’t separate Muslims from Christians, it binds them together.”


Ref: Volf, Miroslav – A Christian Response to Muslims Allah and the Trinity

More of his writing on this topic can be read from his latest book on Allah. See: http://www.harpercollins.com/books/Allah-Miroslav-Volf/

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4 thoughts on “Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God?

  1. Awet says:

    Yes, I agree with Volf’s assertion that “Muslims objections to the doctrine of the Trinity and the uncompromising of God’s oneness from which this objection stems are not in themselves good enough reasons for Christians to think that they have radically different understanding of God than Muslims.” In his book, Volf provides what I see as a decisive argument: most Christians believe that Jews and Christians believe in the same God, yet Jews have the same objections that Muslims do to Christian doctrines of the Trinity.

  2. David W. Shenk says:

    Muslims and Christians share the conviction that God almighty is the creator and he rules with compassion and mercy. He is known as Allah in the Arabic language; in the Aramaic of Abraham he is known as Elloha. In God’s encounter with Moses at the burning bush God takes us into deeper understandings of his essence. He is the I Am who comes down to save and deliver. He is the Lord who ecounters us and who reveals his essence. In Jesus the revelation becomes the revelation of the fullness of God for in Jesus God reveals himself as the Good Shepherd who seeks the lost, who suffers with us and because of us, who gives his life for our redemption, the one who loved us even when we were entrapped in sinfulness. All our conversations about the Triunity of God are simply attempts to express in human language that God loves us so greatly that he has come down into our sinful situation in order to save us.

  3. Daniel Mann says:

    The pursuit of any lasting peace requires us to face the problems, not minimize or deny them. Along with the commonalities, there are significant differences between Islam and Christianity, but I think we can learn to love each other despite these differences. My wife and I love each other, not because we agree about everything. Instead, we can love despite the differences.

    Even to the Samaritans who shared an important piece of the Hebrew religion – The Five Books of Moses – Jesus insisted:

    • You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. (John 4:22)

    Despite their similarities with Israel’s religion, the Samaritans didn’t know God and consequently salvation. Instead, Jesus maintained that, “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). For the Christian, truth entails believing that God the Son died for our sins and accepting the gift of life that can only come through Him (John 14:6).

    Islam also has its exclusivistic claims:

    • [Surah 33:57] Those who insult [aa-dh-aa] God and His Messenger [Mohammad] will be rejected by God in this world and the next—He has prepared a humiliating punishment for them— 58 and those who undeservedly insult [aa-dh-aa] believing men and women will bear the guilt of slander and obvious sin. (Haleem)

    Denial of the existence of these claims can provide no more than a temporary solution for our problems. Instead, we need to affirm each others’ right to believe in their distinctive beliefs in the face of rising secularism, religious pluralism, and multi-culturalism which manipulatively insist that all religions are essentially the same. This insistence is disingenuous and also represents a stealth religion, wanting to eliminate the other religions from the marketplace of ideas in favor of a Godless, materialistic secularism. Consequently, religious symbols and ideas are being pushed out of sight.

    Although I sympathize with your concern about warfare and the historical antagonism between Islam and Christianity, I think that there are better ways to address this concern than to fudge over the problems and differences.

    • Dear Daniel,

      Thank you for spending your precious time to comment my writing on this topic. Of course discussing over problems and differences are not the only way to resolve problems. It is a part of the effort. Conversation is always important and I trust for that reason a husband and a wife can continue to love one another by conversing in a mutually respecting and kindness way on their differences and by appreciating each others commonalities. This of course does not stop there. I trust you know this better than I do. A good example of a fruitful effort in sharing faith can be read from ‘A Muslim and A Christian in Dialogue’ by David Shenk and Badru. D.Kateragga. I learn a lot from both of them. Perhaps, you can benefit from learning their approach too.

      I believe that you will also agree with me that love and peace come in both ways, in our words and our action (1John 3:18 Little children, let’s not love in word or in speech but in deed and in truth). I do not have much time to write about this yet in this blog. You are being very biblical by saying that words alone is not enough. Abu Nimer wrote very well in ‘Unity in Diversity – Interfaith Dialogue in the Middle East’ on what goes beyond dialogue. In this book, Emily Welty, Amal l.Khoury and him share their experiences generously. I would love to hear your comment on their work.

      Please also note that this blog is not designed to give solutions to the “warfare and historical antagonism between Islam and Christianity” as you mentioned. It is a virtual space for my blog’s guests especially my Muslim and Christian friends to learn a bit more about one another. Hopefully, this will be helpful to those with extreme xenophobia. The fallen nature of mankind can never be resolved fully by human being’s own effort ever since the time of Adam and Eve. Only God has the power and the ability to resolve this. A blog like this is only a part of an expression of one’s submission and obedience to God’s gifts and creation for one to fulfill God’s purpose in his or her life.

      Your quotation on the scripture and the surah is great! Of course, Christians and Muslims have sacred texts that express exclusivity. Surah 33:57 that you wrote reminded me of the many scriptures in the old testament calling the Israelites to eliminate the Cananites and so on. It is scary when the interpretation is not done with love.

      May God give us grace to forgive one another for all the wrongdoings from the pasts. Let’s hope we do not make the same mistakes in interpreting these sacred texts in this 21st century.

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