Getting to grips with Islam

For ten years I lived in a neighbourhood where you could, with a reasonable degree of accuracy, say that there were no muslims. There may have been one or two but not enough to notice, see or move the needle on the statistics. As a result, even though I had friends living and working in Islamic nations or in multi-cultural cities, it wasn’t a present reality for me. Interesting as it was, engaging with Islam was not on the top of my list. Not even close.

Now I live in a neighbourhood where there is a significant Muslim community. The weekly worshippers at the local mosque (community centre) far outnumber the number of weekly worshippers at the church opposite. Now I have Muslim friends from many different parts of the world. Now getting to grips with Islam is a reality. I don’t want to speak out of ignorance or fear but to understand, appreciate where possible and explain our differences.

I now regularly read apologetic books and other books on Christianity and Islam (bibliography below) to ensure I’m continuing to grow in my understanding of how it all works. However for if you’re looking for some shorter reading to get you going, help is at hand.

  1. What are the differences between Islam and Christianity? Nabeel Qureshi explains why this matters: “The Muslim conception of God, whom we will call Allah, has different characteristics from the Christian conception of God. Of course, the most obvious is that Allah is not triune, whereas the one Christian God subsists in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The concept of God’s personhood is so disparate between Islam and Christianity that the basic Christian axiom “Jesus is God” registers as blasphemy to the average Muslim.”
  2. How Do Islam and Christianity Define Our Problem and Solution? In Islam the problem is ignorance and the solution is sharia. In Christianity the problem is brokenness and the answer is the gospel.
  3. A comparison of the Islamic & Christian views of Jesus – this is interesting because it’s an Islamic site and so you get an insight into what they see are the issues & problems with the Christian view of Jesus as opposed to the Quranic view. In this debate on Who is Jesus in Islam and Christianity? Glen Scrivener up the challenge. Nabeel Qureshi also responds to the issue in this post Did Jesus Claim to Be God? Muslims Say “No”
  4. Is Muhammad a Prophet of God? Muslims Give Three Positive Arguments – His life & character, that they believe Muhammad was prophesied about in the Bible and his miraculous scientific knowledge. All three claims are found to be seriously wanting.
  5. For a long time Islam was somehow shielded from serious academic scrutiny; the same sort of scrutiny that has been applied to Christianity for the last three hundred years. It’s revealing now that serious questions are being asked about the origins of Islam.

There is, of course, far more to it than that – but that should get you started thinking about some of the issues involved when it comes to understanding both the Muslim critique of Christianity as well as questions to make your Muslim friend think.

On my shelves


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