Is Allah the Same as God the Father?

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I have a friend who is Muslim. He was born in Iraq and speaks Arabic. He is very interested in Christianity. I am trying to explain the Trinity. I do not know much about Islam. I told Him that Allah is the same as God the Father. Is that right?

Well perhaps not. I think what is important to realize is that Muslims believe in what is called a Unitarian God. They believe that God is one. They believe that God is a singularity. Christians believe in one God revealed in three persons who are eternally distinct. We believe in a Triune God. They believe in a Unitarian God. That is a very significant distinction.

Muslims, in fact, think that Christians are polytheistic. They think that we believe in three Gods. Often times they get this idea from their own teachings that the three polytheistic1 Gods that we believe in are the Father, the Son, and the Mother—Mary (Sura 5:72-73). They have confusion with respect to the Trinity. What we have to explain to them is that Christians are not polytheistic at all. We are fiercely monotheistic.2 We believe only in one God.

Think about this. The Muslim God, by definition, has to be morally defective, because independent of the universe—a universe being out of the picture—you have a Muslim God who cannot manifest the attribute of love, since there is no object for his love. This is very, very different with the Trinitarian God. Even independent of the universe, a Trinitarian God can experience love within the Godhead. The Father loves the Son. The Son loves the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit loves the Father and the Son. There are love relationships within the Godhead.

This is a very important point: The Muslim God is morally defective. The Christian God is precisely as we would suppose Him to be—a God of infinite love. A God who in fact allows us as human beings to be brought into the relationships within the Trinity. Put it another way, we can experience life in the Trinity, and that is the apex of the Christian experience. This is not just some kind of theoretical idea. This has a real practical implication on how you live and how you can love, not just human beings but the one who created all things.

When a Muslims leans about the monotheism of the Christian faith and the true idea of a Trinitarian God, not being three different Gods, but on God revealed in three different persons, it helps them to understand how they can have a God of love, a God with whom they can identify. A Muslim cannot identify with the Muslim God. They cannot relate to the Muslim God. The Muslim is ineffable. He is unknowable. He is even capricious in the truest sense of the word. The Christian God is at once ineffable and also knowable in incarnation. This makes all the difference in the world.

Now there are many other things that Muslims misunderstand. When the Bible says that the Son is the only begotten of the Father (John 1:10), the Muslim says God begets not nor is He begotten (Surah 112:3). In fact, they believe to say that God begets is an unforgivable sin. Why is that? When they think about begotten, in their mind there is the idea of sexual procreation. But this is not the biblical understanding of begotten. Begotten does not have to do with sexual procreation, but it has to do with special relationship.

All of these things are wonderful to be able to communicate to Muslim friends. I was just talking to a friend of mind, who is working in the Middle East, and he was talking about all the Muslims who are coming to faith in Christ and one of the things that he does is to explain the very thing that I have just explained. Good for you for making friends with your Muslim neighbors. We are called to reach not repel, and always give an answer for the reason of the hope that lies within us with gentleness and respect (1 Pet. 3:15).

—Hank Hanegraaff

For further related study, please see the following equip.org resources:

Is the Trinity Biblical? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Is the Allah of Islam the God of the Bible? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Allah Does Not Belong to Islam (Helen Louise Herndon)

Allah, the Trinity, and Divine Love (Jonah Haddad and Douglas Groothuis)

Facing the Islamic Challenge (David Wood)

Loving the Trinity (James White)


Notes:

  1. Polytheism is the belief in many gods.
  2. Monotheism is the belief in one god.

This blog adapted from the September 29, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast.

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