I recently invited everyone to a read along in Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together! The plan is to read What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James R. White together.
Feel free to grab a copy of the book and join in at anytime! So far, the following has been covered:
- First Discussion: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an
- Chapter 1a: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an
- Chapter 1b: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by Ken Temple
- Chapter 2: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an
Chapter 3: Allah: Tawhid, Shirk, the Mithaq and the Fitra
In chapter 3, James White explains Tawhid, Shirk, the Mithaq and the Fitra. He compares and contrasts these Islamic doctrines with Christian doctrines explaining the importance of them to Muslims. The chapter closes with an important and sometimes disagreed upon question of whether Muslims and Christians worship the same God.
Tawhid and Purity of Worship
Tawhid is the Islamic doctrine of monotheism – the oneness of Allah. Islam’s doctrine of God is Unitarian (one God/one person) in direct contrast to the Christian doctrine of God which is Trinitarian (one God/three persons). White shows importance of tawhid in Islam by quoting Allamah Al-Sadi explaining tawhid is required for proper worship Allah and even salvation.
The Shahada is the profession of faith one says to become a Muslim. White first provides the English translation “”There is only one God worthy of worship, and Muhammad is His messenger.” In Arabic, la ilaha illa l-Lah, wa-Muhammadun rasulu l-Lah.” (Kindle Locations 789-790).
White ties the Shahada into tawhid’s monotheism. He then explains there are three types of tawhid: of lordship, of worship, and of Allah’s attributes. The word tawhid is not found in the Qur’an much like the word Trinity is not found in the Bible. However, tawhid is clearly taught in the Qur’an. The strongest Islamic apologetic arguments for tawhid are those against Trinitarianism.
The Unforgivable Sin of Shirk
Shirk is the sin of idolatry in Islam committed by associating anyone or anything with Allah. For example, the Christian belief that Jesus is God would be shirk. White quotes from Surah 4:48 showing from the Qur’an that shirk is unforgivable. Unforgivable, that is, if one dies while committing shirk. White further explains that Allah may forgive murder in the next life, but not shirk. One may also be forgiven of shirk by becoming a Muslim.
The Mithaq and the Fitra
Mithaq is Allah’s covenant with all of Adam’s decedents which holds all people without excuse for not worshiping Allah. This covenant means everyone is without excuse for committing shirk. White defines fitra as the “natural, innate inclination and knowledge of Allah’s existence and of monotheism” (Kindle Location 903).
Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God?
The question of whether Muslims and Christians worship the same God is contentious in some Christians circles. White says it is probably the question most often asked in public dialogue. He quotes Surah 29:46 which states Muslims and Christians (People of the Book) worship the same God.
I’m going to pause here and leave readers to consider this question given the above information from this chapter.
So, do Muslims and Christians worship the same God?
Here I blog…