Ecumenical & Interfaith, Muslim Ministry
Trinity or Tawhid? The difference between Christianity and Islam to a 'T'
July 19, 2018
Updated July 24, 2018
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A Muslim, Sayyid Nasr described the heart of Islam as:
At the heart of Islam stands the reality of God, the One, the Absolute and the Infinite, the Infinitely Good and All Merciful, the One Who is at once transcendent and immanent, greater than all we can conceive or imagine, yet, as the Quran, the sacred scripture of Islam, attests, closer to us than our jugular vein. The One God, known by His Arabic Name, Allah, is the central reality of Islam in all of its facets, and attestation to this oneness, which is called tawhid, is the axis around which all that is Islamic revolves.
If we want to reach out to Muslims, wouldn't it be good to know a bit more about what is in their 'heart'? You might respond by saying, 'But why all this doctrine stuff? Why can't we just be friends with Muslims and the rest will take care of itself?" To truly love someone, does require knowledge of their hopes, loves, desires and drives. The teaching on tawhid helps us to understand what makes Muslims tick.
Keith Small and Andy Bannister gave a series of lectures entitled, "Allah vs. Yahweh / Tawhid vs. Trinity" [https://www.bethinking.org/islam/allah-vs-yahweh-tawhid-vs-trinity]. It covers topics such as:
You can find a partial transcript of the talks here [www.geocities.ws/elf_sopron2005/keith/tawhid-trinity-ks.pdf]
Want to know the bottom line of these talks?
For all of the similarities of how Allah of Islam and YHWH of the Bible act, the reasons why they do things so differently can be traced to whether one is a monad (i.e. just one solitary being) described by Tawhid or a tri-personal being described by the Trinity. Every Muslim desperately needs the Trinity. Doesn't true friendship with, and true respect for Muslims demand that they are introduced to the One who is Father-Son-Spirit?
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Thank you, “name withheld,” for your insightful article in contrasting the differences between the Muslim and Christian perspectives on God. You gave a nice (short) description of how the Islamic would describe the heart of the Islamic religion and his/her perspective on God (or Allah).
In contrast, the Christian would be compelled to say that God is a three person entity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) of which all three are fully and completely God, separate and yet one. The second person of this entity, at a point in history, came down to earth from heaven and took on the form as a human baby (person). He is embodied as a fully human person and yet retains his fully divine nature (as God). Fully human and fully God. He lived his earthly existence sinlessly from the time of his birth (baby Jesus) in thought word and deed. He performed many miracles. He was crucified at the hands of those who didn’t believe who he claimed to be. After three days in the grave he was raised to life, walked again on earth, then ascended into heaven, where he presently reigns over heaven and earth. Someday (soon) he will return to earth to establish his final and eternal kingdom, at which time all people will be judged for their lives on earth, and be found wanting.
You suggest that Christian theologians can find some philosophical problems with the Islamic doctrine of God. Do you really think that Muslim scholars can find no problems with the Christian concept of God? Put the two concepts of God side by side, and which makes more sense? Which stacks up to reason? And by the way, I’m not putting in a plug for the Islamic religion or concept of God. It just seems unlikely that Christianity is more reasonable than other religions.
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