Helping Muslims Understand the Gospel


Muslims have many misconceptions about Christianity, who Jesus really is and what the gospel is all about. The purpose of this feature is to help Christians explain the Gospel (injil) in a way that the Muslim will be able to understand it correctly.

If you are a Christian who is interested in ministering to Muslims, don’t do it if you can’t love and respect them as people. If you can’t, then find another area of ministry. Our priority should always be to show the Muslim the reality of our faith by demonstrating Jesus’ life and love that has been given to us and is in us. Be humble and never say anything disrespecful about Islam, the Qur'an or Muhammad, just as you would not want them to say anything disrespectful about your faith.

I think it’s important to let any Muslim you are conversing with to know upfront that you are not trying to convert them to Christianity when you are discussing your faith. Let them know that your goal is to help them understand what the Christian faith is all about and clear out any misunderstandings. When they truly understand the Gospel, then they can either accept it or reject it. For the most part, Muslim’s rejection of Christianity is the result of the errors they have been taught. The average Muslim feels that it is his duty to correct the Christian and lead him to the truth they believe is found in Islam.

What Muslims do not understand is that the Christian faith is not a religion that requires conversion, but rather is a relationship with God that is established by faith and acceptance of the Gospel. The gospel message is that Jesus died and rose again from the dead to redeem us from our sins, therefore making it possible for us to enter God's Holy Presence when we die, and to have a closer relationship with Him now in this life. Muslims do not believe that Jesus died on the cross, therefore it is vitally important to begin any explanation of the gospel with a background on its origins in the Old Testament. That background explains the purpose of the Messiah as recorded by Moses and the prophets, and is explained in 1. Jesus the Messiah - the Origin of Christianity in the Old Testament.This is where any ministry to a Muslim must begin.The Qur'an affirms the legitimacy of the previous scriptures: "Say: We believe in Allah and (in) that which had been revealed to us, and (in) that which was revealed to Ibrahim (Abraham) and Ismail (Ishmael) and Ishaq (Issac) and Yaqoub (Jacob) and the tribes, and (in) that which was given to Musa(Moses) and Isa (Jesus), and (in) that which was given to the prophets from their Lord, we do not make any distinction between any of them, and to Him do we submit (2:136)." It is through those scriptures that the Gospel is affirmed.

In the Qur'an, Muhammad declares that the goal of Islam is to obtain the faith of Abraham “follow the faith of Abraham, the upright one, and he was not of the polytheists” (16.123). Muslims need to understand that this"faith of Abraham," is the result of the relationship that God had with Abraham. The purpose of the Gospel is to enable all people to have the relationship Abraham enjoyed with God.

Abraham was led directly by God’s Spirit before there was any written law. Believers in Messiah Jesus receive this relationship through their union with God by the Holy Spirit which is given to us through Jesus. What most people do not understand is that Christianity is the fulfillment of the goal of religion, which is to have a genuine relationship with God. Because Christianity is a relationship with God, a pure faith like the relationship God had with Abraham, the "conversion" the Bible speaks about refers to the conversion from a state of sinfulness to sinlessness; which is a reformation of the heart, the transformation of the inner man. This transcends any religion and is the desired state that God is seeking for in those who profess to be followers of the One True God of Abraham.

The transformation is accomplished by the Holy Spirit working within a willing believer. The Holy Spirit is released to the believer though faith in Jesus’ atonement. Again, because Muslims do not believe that Jesus died on the cross, giving them an understanding of the atonement from the Old Testament is vitally important.

Muslims also also do not believe in the Trinity, and because of misunderstandings of this doctrine, they think we are polytheists. We will show how the Trinity or "tri-unity" of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are revealed in the Old Testament and the Qur'an in 4. The Trinity in the Qur'an.

They also do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God. They think we believe that God had sex with Mary and we are great blasphemers because of this. Christians have never believed that God had sex with Mary and we also agree that belief is a great blashemy. We will show how Jesus is the Son of God and why Christians can agree with the Qur'an's description of how Jesus began within Mary in 3. Ruh Allah and Why Jesus is Called the Son of God

Muslims also believe that Christians are idolaters for worshipping Jesus. To them this is the highest blasphemy anyone can commit, and this is why it is vitally important for every Christian to understand what the Muslim referrs to as “shirk.”

According to the Qur'an, shirk is when man associates anyone or anything on the same level with God, giving Him a “partner,” and performing to the partner the same actions reserved for God alone, like acts of worship. In Islam it is the highest form of blasphemy anyone can commit and it is unforgivable unless repented of before death. It is basically a violation of the first commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3). The Qur'an says in The children of Israel- 17.22 - "Do not associate with Allah any other god, lest you sit down despised, neglected." In Islam God “has no partner,” or equal. Muslims accuse Christians of committing this blasphemy by elevating Jesus to a level equal with God, when Muslims see Jesus as a prophet only. This is also one of the reasons Muslims in some countries want to kill Christians and rid their lands of the “idolaters.” It is important for the Muslim to understand that while the Qur'an forbids man to associate anyone with God, the Qur'an shows us that when God chooses to associate Himself with anyone, or directs us to give homage to another other, it is not blasphemy.We have this example in the Qur'an in Sura (chapter) 15.28-35-

"And when your Lord said to the angels: Surely I am going to create a mortal of the essence of black mud fashioned in shape. So when I have made him complete and breathed into him of My spirit, fall down making obeisance to him. So the angels made obeisance, all of them together,But Iblis (did it not); he refused to be with those who made obeisance. He said: O Iblis! what excuse have you that you are not with those who make obeisance? He said: I am not such that I should make obeisance to a mortal whom Thou hast created of the essence of black mud fashioned in shape. He said: Then get out of it, for surely you are driven away:And surely on you is curse until the day of judgment." (Note: The Qur'an is written in Arabic, but the word Iblis is not an Arabic word. It was adapted by the Arabs from the Greek word, dlabolis which means devil.)

In this example from the Qur'an, God instructs the angels to bow down to Adam. - “So when I have made him complete and breathed into him of My spirit, fall down making obeisance to him.”
    The word obeisance or bow, which means a gesture of respect or homage, is used in the Old Testament when God warns His people against committing “shirk” with other gods -

Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous (meaning to desire His people for Himself ) God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; (Exodus 20:5).
    Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images (Exodus 23:24).

In the Qur'an, God is telling the angels to “bow” to Adam, who Moses says is made in the image of God. - And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: …(Genesis 1:26). In the New Testament Jesus is called the last Adam, (I Corinthians 15:45) and He is referred to as the image of God (Colossians 1:15), because God is an unseen Spirit and we are able to see His portrait in Jesus who represents Him –“he that has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

In the Old Testament, the prophet David prophetically sees God addressing the Messiah in Psalm 110:1: A Psalm of David. The LORD said to my Lord, You sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.

  Christians have not committed shirk, because God has associated Himself or “partnered” with Jesus and Christians are merely obeying what God has told us to do concerning the Messiah. So our purpose in ministering to any Muslim should be focused on making sure they correctly understand what all the scriptures reveal concerning who Jesus is, why He came and why worshipping God through Him is not “shirk.” We will explore how God has associated Himself with Messiah Jesus, how the scriptures show they are one Spirit and why "God is one," in our explanation of the 4. "Trinity" in the Qur'an.

Muslims also do not believe in original sin. One Muslim declared in a letter I received, "I wasn't there!" We answer this statement in 5. Original Sin.

Muslims also believe that our present day Bible has been corrupted. Most of them do not know that Muhammad said that God’s word cannot be corrutped or changed.- "And the word of thy Lord has been fulfilled in truth and justice. None can change His words; and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing" (6:115).
     " For them are glad tidings in the present life and also in the Hereafter — there is no changing the words of Allah; that indeed is the supreme triumph" (10:64).
     "And recite what has been revealed to thee of the Book of thy Lord. There is none who can change His words, and thou wilt find no refuge beside Him" (18:27).
     "Such is the law of Allah that has been in operation before; and thou shalt not find any change in the law of Allah" (48:23).
     Surah 3:78 show us that the word of God can only be changed verbally, the written word is protected. - "And indeed, there is among them a party who alter the Scripture with their tongues so you may think it is from the Scriptures. And they say, 'this is from Allah,' but it is not from Allah. And they speak untruth about Allah while they know" (3:78).
     The gospel that Muhammad had access to in his day, comes from the same 5,000 manuscripts that we have today, and there have been no changes, only variations in the translations, just as there are in the Qur'an.

Muhammad told his followers to read the Gospel (Injil) and all the books of the Bible. He would not have done that if he thought the texts that were available in his day had been corrupted.
It was not until 1000AD that Muslims began to be taught (in other words, lied to) that the Bible was corrupted.

The Moon God
Christians are also told many things about Muslims that are not true. For example, Christians are told that Muslims worship a moon god, because a relic of this idol was found in some ruins. The fact is that Muhammad delivered his people from worshipping over three hundred gods and managed to convert them into the worship of Abraham’s God, which was an amazing accomplishment. He also introduced them to Jesus, and the Qur'an actually places Him on a higher level than Muhammad.

The word Muslim means “surrendered to God” and the Qur'an is specific in affirming that Muslims worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob: “follow the faith of Abraham, the upright one, and he was not of the polytheists” (16.123).

Many Christians are taught that Muslims worship a different God, “Allah.” Allah is the Arabic equivalent of the word, “God.” Christians in Arabic speaking countries also refer to Abraham’s God as “Allah.” The use of the word predates Islam and is found in early Christian inscriptions.
    Muslims are also taught that Christians worship a false god, therefore it is vitally important to assure them that we also worship the God of Abraham. If we insist we worship different gods, then we are saying their Imams are right. I believe any ministry to Muslims should begin by establishing a foundation of mutual faith in the God of Abraham.

I use this illustration; picture a Christian and a Muslim looking at a majestic mountain.mountain The Christian says, “I worship the God who made that mountain.” The Muslim replies, “I also worship the God who made that mountain.” We believe vastly different things about that God that need to be reconciled, but we both sincerely believe that we worship the God who made that mountain. I would never insult Muslims by telling them that they do not worship the same God as Christians do, which would antagonize them and cut off any further discussion.

Our purpose in ministering to Muslims should be getting them to understand what we believe correctly, clear up any misunderstandings and trust God to guide the Muslim into the eternal life that is found in the Messiah Jesus.

In the column on the right is a list of the areas of misunderstanding we wish to address. I think it's important to begin by understanding the origins of Christianity, therefore I recommend beginning with number one and proceeding from there. Most Muslims do not know that the reason why Christians believe that Jesus is the Messiah is because of what has been written about Him in the writings of Moses (musa) and the other prophets. The Old Testament is the cocoon, the New Testament is the butterfly that has emerged from within it and is its fulfillment.

I pray that your journey through this subject will be a blessing and also a vehicle for reinforcing your own faith in the Messiah Jesus.

1. Jesus the Messiah - the Origin of Christianity in the Old Testament

2. Did Jesus die on the Cross?

3. Ruh Allah and Why Jesus is Called the Son of God

4. The Trinity in the Qur'an

5. Original Sin

6. The Faith of Abraham

Muhammad said,
"Save yourselves from hellfire, as I cannot save you from Allah's punishment...Nor do I know what will be done with me or you..." (Sahih Bukhari Vol. 4, book 51, #16 and the Qur'an: Sura 46:9).

Jesus said,
     "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by Me.
    For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
   Come to me, all you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (John 14:6, 3:16, Matthew 11:28-30).

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