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The Truth about Islam: The Noble Qur'an's Teachings in Light of the Holy Bible Paperback – August 13, 2004
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"Dispels the fog of confused ideas about Islam. The writers carefully examine the Qur'an and the Bible and lay a framework for discussion between these two competing faiths." --Roger S. Greenway
"A wonderful exposition of the clear differences between Islam and Christianity. While not afraid to be forthright, the authors present the material in a winsome way." --Bruce A. McDowell
"Zaka's passion for Muslim evangelism cannot be expressed more clearly than in this book. . . . Full of Qur'anic and biblical teachings, compared side-by-side, this book is written with truth and grace." --Wilbert S. Richardson
About the Author
Anees Zaka (DMin, Westminster Theological Seminary) is the founder and director of Church without Walls and founder and president of the Biblical Institute for Islamic Studies, both in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is coauthor of Muslims and Christians at the Table.
Diane Coleman (BS, Penn State University) has written teacher manuals, a literature guide, and a company history. She was a founding director and curriculum coordinator for a Christian academy.
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The book makes extensive references to both the Bible and the Qur'an to compare the Christian vs. Muslim definition of faith, life, and understanding of God. There are a total of 31 tables providing either comments or translations and provides hundreds of references of chapter and verse from the Bible and sura from the Qur'an. There may be some misquotes of the Qur'an, or at least unrelated conclusions. I started doing a pro forma cross-check (using the translation by Ahmed Ali) and found several significant mistranslations in a small sample. As an example, referring to averse wives, he translates sura 4:34 as "... (and last) beat them (lightly).", but Ali translates it as "...go to bed with them (when they are willing)." (Ali does go out of his way to say it does not mean beating; so, there may be some confusion in Arabic or in Islam between having intercourse with someone and beating her.)
Chapter 1 begins with an apologetics of Truth. The authors argue that there is objective Truth, and compare the truth of the Qur'an with the Truth of the Bible. It then goes on to document the differences between an earthly oriented Muslim faith and the Christ and salvation centric, Christian Faith.
Chapter 2 discusses early life, influences, and motivation of Muhammad, the founder of Islam, and it juxtaposes his claim to being a prophet against the characteristics of biblical prophets-speaking the Truth, pointing to Christ, and making specific predictions of the future that came true. The chapter concludes with several sections discussing Muhammad's quest for power, sinfulness and false teachings, and how he came to his prophet status among Arabs.
Chapter 3 compares the view of Jesus Christ as a prophet according to the Qur'an with the view of Christ as Savior of the Bible. One sees the ambivalence of Islam toward Christianity and Judism as Abrahamic religions whose members should be respected, and as religions of "infidels" who must either submit or be subjugated or eliminated. Muslims believe that there is no need for mediation between Allah and man; therefore, there was no need for a Savior, and Christ did not die and is not a savior. This chapter concludes with a discussion from the Holy Bible of the central role of Jesus Christ in our Salvation.
Chapter 4 investigates the Holy Bible as Sacred Scripture, and the Qur'anic view of scripture. Muslims argue that there are many versions of the Bible so it is corrupted. The authors state correctly that the many copies are remarkably consistent, and none disagree on any significant issue. This may be a problem for literalists, but not for other Christians. Still, the books accepted as inspired by the bible Christians do not include the seven Deutero-canonical books in the canon defined by the early Church and used by the Catholic Church. Furthermore, several Christian denominations do not let use of the actual text get in the way of their translations of the Bible, and Mormons add the Book of Mormon to the sacred writings; so, simply stating that there is only one Christian Bible may not be convincing.
Chapter 5 discusses the differences between the Christian and Islamic concept of God. God, as shown to us in the Bible, is both transcendent and immanent, that is, He is not fully knowable to us, but moves the universe and makes Himself known through Scripture. God loves us and wants us to be saved. The Qur'an depicts Allah as totally transcendent, as uncaring, requiring only that the faithful fulfill ritual requirements. Dying in the process of killing Islam's enemies is the only way to guarantee achieving reward. Allah is both good and evil; so, even fulfilling all rituals may not save us.
Chapter 6 compares the Christian and Islamic view of Law and Grace. Islamic Law is civil Law; there can be no distinction. The authors begin to diverge from other Christian understanding of law at this point. They claim (unlike fundamentalists) that Justification alone is not enough, but that Christians must continue to obey moral Law to be sanctified. Though they do not reject outright Bible passages that require good works, they ignore them. To counter arguments that Islam is best for human progress, the authors show how grace and Reform Christianity enables democracy and scientific progress unattainable in Islam. It's at this point that their arguments leave the theological realm for the philosophical. There is no justification for there statements in Scripture. That Reformed Christianity and grace makes democracy possible is not even true since democracy can exist without Christianity (ancient Athens). Similarly, they claim that grace as understood by Reform Christianity enables scientific progress. Again, they fail to show this in Scripture, or even that it is good for salvation. One feels like the program has been interrupted by a commercial.
The concluding chapter provides guidelines to dialogue with Muslims. Many of the suggestions are good advice for any meaningful dialogue on any controversial topic. I would recommend the methods for discussions between Christians.