Is Allah the Same as Yahweh?
Tom: Thanks Gary. You are listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him. We are going through Dave Hunt’s book In Defense of the Faith and we’ve been discussing chapter two, which is titled “Who is God?” and we’ve noted that some people seem more interested in making up their own concept of God than seeking out what He has revealed about Himself. The problem with that is they end up with a multitude of differing and even contradictory views of God leading to religious delusion rather than truth. Even so, the world’s religious leaders promote this irrational delusion under the guise of ecumenical peace and unity, and multitudes are embracing it. Dave, this seems to me to be an example of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”
Dave: If you’re referring to the ecumenical delusion, yeah, it certainly is. They’re pretending that they all believe in the same God—we’ve mentioned it before. You remember, the pope had the leaders of the world’s twelve major religions at Assisi, Italy, to pray for peace. There were snake worshipers, spiritists, animists, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, witch doctors—and he said, “We’re all praying to the same God!” That hardly makes sense, and you said earlier that people are more interested in coming up with their own ideas of God rather than finding out what God himself has to say. Tom, it’s just absurd! It is incredible that anyone would think that he or she could impose his own views on God. Either God exists or He doesn’t exist. If He hasn’t revealed Himself to us, then we don’t know anything about Him, and for people to sit around and discuss who they think God might be or what kind of a God he might be, I would say it is a blindness that is deliberate. You couldn’t possibly be that stupid! So, what they are doing—it’s rebellion against God.
Tom: But, Dave, sometimes you sort of get . . . not lulled, but drawn into an idea. For example, a religious leader comes on and says, “Well, just because your view of God is different from my view, the important thing is that we’re all people of faith, and we’re seeking God.”
Dave: “We believe in some god . . .”
Tom: Some god . . .
Dave: “ . . . some higher power.”
Tom: So when a religious leader does this—this is my point—this is why it’s like the emperor’s new clothes, because for those who don’t know the Hans Christian Anderson story, the emperor was sold an idea that these people were going to make beautiful clothes for them, but they were invisible. And the emperor went along with it. And the upshot was that everybody went along with it because the premise was that if you didn’t recognize that these were really beautiful clothes, then there was something wrong with you.
Dave: Yeah, they would be invisible to those who didn’t understand. So if you didn’t see the clothes, you were afraid to admit it.
Tom: Now, my point is that when the religious community —not everybody, of course— but when there’s a thrust here that says, “Let’s be ecumenical; let’s not put down somebody else’s view of God. After all, God is what you believe Him to be.” And people buy into that because religious leaders are promoting it.
Dave: Yeah, all I’m saying is, Tom, if anyone stopped to think for one moment, they would realize this is not only absurd, it is rebellion against God. Isn’t God a definite being? Does He not have definite characteristics? Must He bend Himself or be molded to man’s thoughts? This is rebellion! This is horrible! I mean, this is unbelief; this is atheism. It is really worse than atheism, because the atheist at least says, “Well, I don’t believe that there is a god, but if he wants to show me . . .” In fact, sometimes atheists say, “If You exist, show me that You exist.” But this person isn’t asking God to show them anything! This person is coming up with his own ideas of God. That is the brashest, most . . . words fail me, Tom! It is the most ridiculous imposition on the Creator of this universe to say, “Well, I can decide what he is like, and my view of him is just as good as—not your view of him—but just as good as his view of Him. It doesn’t matter who He really is so long as I say I believe in some God that pleases me—the ideas that I have!
Tom, I just cannot conceive of this. Anyone who would dare to do that . . . but the Bible does say in Romans 1, “When they knew God. . . .” When did they know God? Well, it says the universe reveals . . .
Tom: Through the creation.
Dave: . . . His power, His wisdom, that He’s infinite and that He’s the Creator of this universe. And when they knew that, they didn’t glorify Him as the true God who created this universe, “they became vain in their imagination [there you are], their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible beasts, creatures, creeping things.” Does that sound like our universe? Some of our university professors today who say God does not exist, it all happened by chance, it all came about by an evolutionary process, and we are cousins to the chimpanzee or something—Tom, it is so contrary to common sense, to the intelligence God has given us, and to all the evidence about us. I just lose patience!
Tom: Yeah, Dave, there is some irony here. Most people, for most things in their lives, particularly in the mundane things, wouldn’t tolerate this kind of idea. For example, let’s say I am in a restaurant and I order a hamburger with mushrooms, and it comes back and it’s got avocados on it. I say, “Hey, I don’t like avocados!” And they say, “It’s a hamburger. What difference does it make?”
In other words, we have a concern for detail when we are ordering something in a restaurant . . .
Dave: . . . when it’s not really that important.
Tom: Right, but here we are talking about “who is God?” This is the most important idea—it’s not an idea but a belief, that one can possibly have, because your eternal destiny depends on it—not whether you’re going to get indigestion from getting mushrooms or avocados!
Dave: It is amazing that you recognize that you cannot just have it the way you want it in any other area of life. You go to a doctor, the doctor examines you and says, “You’ve got appendicitis. If you’re not on the operating table within 30 minutes—I mean, we’ve got to rush you right in there!”
“Aw, doctor, I don’t really like that diagnosis. I mean, why can’t you just say I have . . . “
Dave: Yeah, heartburn or something else. Look, we know you can’t do that! But when it comes to that which is most important—man’s eternal destiny, who God is, man’s relationship with God—then, suddenly, “Well, you’ve got your religion, I’ve got mine. You’ve got your idea about God, I’ve got my idea about God. I think mine is as good as yours!”
Yes, I am sure that yours is as good as mine, but what about God? What does He have to say about this? We’d better find out.
Tom: Yes, right. What’s the truth here, what’s the reality?
Tom: Well, Dave, the format—as I have been telling our listeners—the format of your book, In Defense of the Faith, has questions. Basically, these are questions that people have asked you throughout your years of ministry.
Dave: Or they come from my files. From atheists, critics.
Tom: Right. I want to get on to this question because it’s very specific with regard to a religious view of who God is, and it affects Christians who are ministering to Muslims. This question deals with Islam: “Allah is the one true God of the Bible. This is proved by the fact that the Hausa translation of the Bible in northern Nigeria, where there are many Muslims, uses Allah as a designation for the true God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, that is Jehovah of the Old Testament, and the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. What better way could we encourage Muslims to believe the Bible?” Some problems there.
Dave: Serious problems. Now, I have discussed this with people who minister to Muslims. I have discussed it with ex-Muslims, and I don’t find that they always agree with me. They go to the Arabic, and they try to tell me, “Well, it’s just a designation for God,” and so forth. But the fact is that “Allah” is the name of a definite god. It was the god of the Quraish tribe—Allah was.
Tom: The Quraish tribe—that would be Muhammad’s tribe.
Dave: Muhammad’s tribe, mm-hmm. The Kaaba—that cubicle place of worship in Mecca that still exists today, that the Muslims go to today. Once in their life, time they must make the hajj . . .
Tom: That’s a pilgrimage.
Dave: . . . the holy journey to Mecca. It had about 300-and-some idols in it. Mecca was where all the caravan trails crossed. They had an idol there for everybody.
Tom: Right, this was prior to Muhammad.
Dave: Long before Muhammad, and, in fact, his tribe made a lot of money out of this—the fees that they got for the temple and so forth—people were able to worship whatever God they believed in. The chief god, of course, was the god of the Quraish tribe there in Mecca. His name was Allah. He has no son, but he has three daughters. He was the moon god, worshiped with the moon, and that’s why you still see the crescent moon on minarets and on flags of Muslim countries to this day.
The Qur’an, for example, says of Allah, “He is not a father, and he has no son.” Now there is no way that you could possible equate Allah, this pagan idol, with the God of the Bible who absolutely forbids—I mean to think that the God of the Bible would have an image! You’re not to make an image of the God of the Bible. And that it would be in a pagan temple with other images, with other idols, is just absolutely contrary to the Scripture.
But they say this is their name for God, the Arabic name for God, but wait a minute! That this is not a generic term for God is easily proved. In Spanish, the generic term for God is Dios. Oh, but they insist the Spanish translation must have Allah. In Russian, the generic term for God is bog. But they insist they have Allah, even in a Russian translation. In French it would be Dieu, but they insist, “No, no, it must be Allah even in French, Allah in English.” Well obviously, then, this is not a generic term for God. This is the name of a particular god—the moon god, the god of the Quraish tribe. By the way, they offered human sacrifices to him.
Tom: Dave, you’ve pointed out that this has caused great confusion. Even though sincerely, the people who have made these translations are trying to encourage and trying to minister to Muslims. But there is a delusion here, and it is fostered, believe it or not, by the Catholic Church! I’m looking at a quote from Vatican II, where it says, “Allah is the Creator, the one merciful God, mankind’s judge.” So it’s being propagated here not only by these who are making these translations but by the Catholic Church as well.
Dave: Well, you know that Robert Schuller, about two years ago, was invited by the Grand Mufti of the mosque in Damascus to give a talk there. Maybe he gave more than one, I don’t know, but he said as he spoke, the man was holding his hand, and “he never felt such oneness of the spirit with any one as this.” But this is not the God of the Bible! Furthermore, what the Muslims say of Jesus: “A lookalike disciple died in His place.” Instead of Jesus dying in our place, someone died in His place. He didn’t even die. He went to heaven and has to return and die one day.
So, there’s no way that you could possibly say that, “Well, they just have a different name, but they believe the same thing.” No they do not believe the same thing.
Tom: Dave, let me give our listeners some particulars. Those who are thinking, Come on; everybody knows that Allah and the God of the Bible are the same.
The God of the Bible is a triune God, a trinity.
Dave: Right, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Tom: But that’s not the case with . . .
Dave: Not Allah.
Tom: But what about saving sinners?
Dave: Well, there is no basis for saving sinners. Allah forgives—but he doesn’t forgive. And a Muslim has no way of knowing that he will be forgiven unless he dies in jihad, or possibly on the way to Mecca! But other than that, he can’t be certain. That’s why so many Muslims are willing to secrete bombs on themselves and blow themselves up in Israel, because that is the way to be sure you will get to Paradise. And this is why you hear fathers saying, you know . . . recently, a son blew himself up, and the father said, “I wish I had ten sons, a hundred sons to do that!” Now that is absolutely contrary to the Word of God. God does not give anyone a place in heaven by blowing themselves up in so called holy war.
However, Tom, what about Catholicism, where the scapular says, “Whosoever dies wearing this scapular shall not suffer eternal fire.” What God is that? But go ahead, you were giving some other comparisons—well, let me give you another one quickly. Allah has 99 characteristics. Not one of them is love. Love is a scarce word in the Qur’an. But the God of the Bible is love, it says! He is love, and His name is Yahweh. We have that thousands of times. Never does the Qur’an call Allah, Yahweh. The God of the Bible is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Twelve times it says that. Never does the Qur’an say Allah is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In fact, Allah says in the Qur’an, “Make no friendship with a Jew or a Christian. Pursue them and kill them!” Now you can’t possibly say this is the same God. I’m sorry—I interrupted you.
Tom: No, that’s okay. Dave, really what I want to do is get to the heart of what separates the God of Bible from every other God out there, whether its Allah or anybody else. And that is salvation!
Tom: Someone who’s thinking that a Muslim’s eternal destiny is going to be with God—on what basis? It’s purely works, or, as you’ve said, why would a father want his sons to basically, commit suicide in the name of Allah in order to gain Paradise? Because that’s one of the sure ways, as you pointed out. But that’s not the way of the God of the Bible.
Dave: The issue is sin, righteousness, God’s justice. We have broken God’s laws. You can’t make up for breaking the law by keeping it in the future. Everyone knows that. There is no way that God himself can forgive human beings unless the penalty for their sin has been paid. And there is no provision whatsoever in Islam for paying the penalty of sin, and only God, of course, could do it—the God of the Bible: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God the Son came to this earth, became a man through the virgin birth, took our place, paid the penalty for our sins, so that we could be forgiven. There’s no other basis! God himself is the only one! It’s an infinite penalty. He’s the only one who could pay the infinite penalty.
He couldn’t pay it as God, because he’s not one of us, so he became a man to take our place and to do it. This is the only way you can look at it—philosophically, scientifically, logically, biblically. You look at it any way you want—there is no other way it could happen. And no one but Jesus Christ did it! Buddha didn’t do it, Muhammad didn’t do it, Confucius didn’t do it. Jesus Christ alone did it, and there are hundreds of prophecies foretelling that He would do it, when He would come, how you would identify Him—nothing like that for Muhammad, who, of course, didn’t even claim to be sinless! The Qur’an acknowledges that he was a sinner and that Jesus was sinless.
So there is no possible way in Islam that there could be forgiveness of sins, that man could be reconciled with God—Allah or any other god.
Tom: So, it should be very obvious to anyone listening to what you said that there is no reconciliation between these belief systems—between Islam and biblical Christianity.
Dave: Oh, no possibility! Therefore, Tom, rather than pretending that there is, we should point that out! We’re not helping the Muslim when we say, “Oh, well, you believe in God like we believe in God. Isn’t it wonderful! Now, you keep believing in your god and serving your god the way he’s told you to do it. It’ll be okay with you.”
No! That’s not love! We’re not helping them. We are told to go into all the world, proclaim the gospel, the good news that Christ died for our sins, and we must do that. We must not confuse the issue. It’s not because we’re hardheaded and mean and nasty, but because the issue is the eternal destiny of souls, and that’s what we’re concerned about. Check the Scriptures, search the Scriptures.