What You Need to Know about the Bible and Islam
by Timothy C. Tennent
The Revelations of the Qur’an
There is no more widely recognized utterance of the Islamic faith than the declaration known as the shahadah: “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the prophet of Allah.” Islam is about Allah and his prophet, Muhammad. The Qur’an teaches that Muhammad was an ordinary man (43:31). Yet, according to Muslims, Allah sovereignly chose Muhammad to receive a series of revelations through the intermediary presence of the angel Gabriel. While Muhammad was praying and fasting in the hills outside of Mecca in A.D. 610, Gabriel appeared to him.
Many Muslims believe the first revelation to Muhammad was the command to “Recite in the Name of Thy Lord” (96:1). These revelations continued until Muhammad’s death in A.D. 632 (17:82). According to Islamic traditions, approximately 20 years after Muhammad’s death his “recitations” were written down and codified into a collection of 114 chapters (called surahs) known as the Qur’an. The word “Qur’an” is Arabic for “recitation.” The Qur’an, containing 6,346 verses (known as aya), is approximately the same size as the NT. The first chapter of the Qur’an is known as “The Opening” and is widely regarded as the greatest summary of the Islamic message. The remaining chapters are arranged by length from the longest to the shortest.
The Qur’an and the OT
The emergence of Islam and the Qur’an can be properly understood only within the larger context of the Bible and the monotheism of Islam’s two main predecessors, Judaism and Christianity. The dozens of superficial similarities between the Qur’an and the Bible are striking. For example…