Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.
As Muslims we are encouraged in the Quran and by our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to respect the beliefs of others. It is a fundamental principle of Islam that there is to be no compulsion in religion.
Whilst respecting others’ right to believe whatever they wish and whilst admiring the deep faith of many sincere individuals, Muslims would nonetheless like to tell others about Islam.
Muslims believe that Islam is the natural religion of mankind and that it has existed since the beginning of time. Allah Almighty spoke to His Creation right from the very beginning of time through Prophets.
It surely makes sense that the message He sent through these Prophets was the same message. It would make no sense at all that Allah would send different messages. Why would He do this? Is it to confuse people?
No, Muslims believe that the one message spoken by all Prophets was the Oneness of God. God, in other words, is without partner or equal and there is nothing like unto Him.
So are we saying, then, that Christians and Jews are telling lies when they speak about God? No, we are not. Muslims believe that over time the one message proclaimed by all Prophets became distorted, either through translation or even by deliberate effort on the part of some. But they were never intended to last.
The message revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), however, was intended for all people and for all time. So, it has remained completely unaltered since it was first revealed fourteen hundred years ago.
The problem that many people have today is that they have been fed a particular narrative for over two thousand years.
Christian art, architecture, sculpture, and poetry have all reinforced this notion of Jesus as God’s “son”, born in a stable in Bethlehem, and people have come to accept this as fact, just as many people accept as fact that the same Jesus died on the Cross.
Muslims follow another narrative. The Quran tells them that Jesus did not die on the Cross and that he was not God’s son.
Whilst his birth is described in the Quran, it is different from the one we have in the versions of the Christian Gospel which were chosen, from among many, by the early Church to represent its belief.
In talking to sincere Christian believers, then, we first have to begin with tact and with respect, to suggest that what they believe as fact is not necessarily true.
The greatest appeal we have as Muslims is to appeal to reason. Islam teaches that there is a God and this God has spoken to His Creation since the beginning of time. This God can do whatever He wills and He needs no one else to help Him in His plan for Creation.
It just doesn’t make sense that this God would need to send a son down to earth to die on the Cross to save people from a sin committed at the beginning of time by Adam and Eve.
God can do whatever He wants. In the Muslim version of the Adam and Eve story, Adam and Eve are indeed tempted and do sin, but they are forgiven.
Their descendants don’t forever carry with them the guilt of that first sin. In such a case, even if Jesus (peace be upon him) did come down to earth to save mankind, what would he save them from?
Islam is so very simple. As Muslims, we have made it seem so very complicated. The message of Islam, that there is a God Who speaks, speaks directly to the hearts of all people. Allah only needs to say to a thing “Be” and it is. He does not need a son or anyone else to help him. This is a very reasonable and sensible belief.
In talking to sincere believers of other faiths we need, as Muslims, to approach them with respect and to suggest very gently that they look again at what they believe and ask themselves if their belief is reasonable and sensible.
Just as importantly, we need to show them by the goodness of our own lives that Islam helps a person to be the very best he can be. Indeed, we believe that Islam is the fullness of revelation, completing all that had gone before and presenting a simple way for men and women to approach their Creator.
Insha’Allah, these words will help.
Salam and please keep in touch.
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