How was Jesus different from Muhammad?

Relations between Islam and Christianity

"La Ilaha illa Allahu", no god but God, that is the Muslim creed and at the same time the quintessence of Islam: besides God there can be no other divine creature. And every religion that allows other gods, according to the Koranic teaching, follows a wrong path. Christianity also sees itself as a monotheistic religion - but Muslims see it differently to some extent.

The Arabs in the Jahiliya?

There is a connection between Islam and Christianity. The Prophet Muhammad came into contact with Christians while traveling as a young man in the countries of the Middle East. In addition, before the spread of Islam, the Orient was by no means an area devoid of faith, as is so often claimed: According to Muslim belief, the people on the Arab peninsula lived in the so-called jahiliya, ignorance, paganism before the arrival of the Prophet Muhammad. At the same time, there was a lost world religion in the countries of the Middle East, a mixture of Christian and Jewish beliefs: Jewish Christianity.

Lost world religion

"The Jewish-Christian communities shared some theological peculiarities with the Muslims," ​​says Michael Marx from the Department of Arabic Studies at the Free University of Berlin. These were mainly expressed in similar rites and customs. From this it can be hypothesized that the Old Testament stories of the Jewish Christians had a great influence on the creation of the Koran. "The Koran is a theological text that deals with the relationship to Christianity in many places."

Many similarities

People knew the biblical stories and religious rites. Muhammad, it is believed today, acquired extensive knowledge of the Christian and Jewish faith very early on and adopted essential elements. Numerous biblical parables can also be found in the Koran without significant deviations: the creation of man, paradise and the fall of man. The Flood and the parable of Cain and Abel are also dealt with in the Quran.

At the beginning of his ministry, Muhammad had a very positive image of Christians. In the early suras of the Quran it says, "You will find that those who are closest to the Muslims are the Christians." (Sura 5:82) Muhammad initially saw them as related in faith and hoped that they too would recognize the similarity of the teachings and convert to Islam - which did not happen. As a result, the Koranic image of Christians changed. The accusation in the Koran: Christians would worship several gods.

Problem: Father, Son and Holy Spirit

For what Muhammad could not understand was the basis of Christian dogmas: the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The dogmas assume that divine nature is divided into three forms - a somewhat complicated idea to justify the monotheistic character of Christianity.

For Muhammad this was not convincing: there cannot be a holy spirit and Jesus was not God's son, but a prophet, like Muhammad himself.

"In the Islamic world, the discourse on the relationship between Islam and Christianity is extremely lively," says Michael Marx. "In these countries it is part of a popular culture, be it in the form of books or on television. For example, there are books with the title 'The One Hundred Errors in the Bible'. The allegations refer to the so-called 'tahrif' , that means falsification. Muslims believe that the Koran is the real revelation and that the earlier writings, including the Bible, are corrupted over time, through additions or incorrect manuscripts. "

Point of contention Jesus

The Koran has its own version of the crucifixion of Jesus. It says that Jesus did not die on the cross at all, but someone else who just looked very much like him. In the Koran it says 'Schubbiha lahom', which means something like: He appeared like him. Some claim that the real Jesus lived a long time and came as far as India on his travels. The others assume that Jesus was brought to heaven by God before he died on the cross.