Short Answer: Mostly because the true message of Jesus was lost with time. Jesus and Muhammad taught the same basic idea: worship God alone, be a good person, be just and generous and helpful and stand on the side of the oppressed. But over time, his message was corrupted by people like Paul. It’s the Paulified version of Christianity people practice today that’s the issue here. Prophet Muhammad came to correct the ideas spread by people who weren’t actually following the true teachings of Jesus.
Salam (Peace) Dear Mark,
Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.
No negative feelings, but loving pity for the widespread misconception and lack of information on what Islam and its prophet are all about.
Jesus: For the People of Israel Only. Muhammad: All Mankind
While Jesus (peace be upon him) was sent specifically to the Israelites, Muhammad (peace be upon him) was sent to all humanity.
According to the Gospels,
“But he [Jesus] answered and said, ‘I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’” (Matthew 15:24)
In contrast, the Quran declares the universal message of Islam.
The Quran says what means:
Say: “O people! surely I am the Messenger of Allah to you all, of Him Whose is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth; there is no god but He; He brings to life and causes to die; therefore believe in Allah and His Messenger, the illiterate Prophet who believes in Allah and His words, and follow him so that you may walk in the right way.” (Quran 7:158)
Did Jesus and Muhammad Teach the Same Thing?
Yes and no.
It is true that both Jesus and Muhammad, as well as all true prophets from Adam, Noah, etc. (peace be upon them all), carried essentially the same message.
That message is Islam—monotheism and submission to the will and guidance of God.
However, the details were not identical, but varied to cope with the time and nation addressed.
Also, while the original message of Jesus was distorted and deviated away from monotheism, the message of the final Prophet Muhammad was to stay valid and preserved to the end of time.
While Jesus’s emphasis was on moral salvation and reform of the individual, with only a few rulings on marriage and divorce, etc., the final message of Islam brought a detailed comprehensive code dealing with all aspects of human life.
This includes personal, family, social, economic, political, and international issues.
Jesus stressed purifying the soul; Muhammad was sent to build and maintain the model: individual, society, and nation.
The Original Message Of Jesus
Jesus, a human monotheistic prophet, repeatedly called people to worship God and warned those who ascribed partners to Him:
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and Him Only.’ (Matthew 4:10)
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.’” (Mark 12:29)
Jesus emphasized his own humanity:
[As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God.] (John 8:40)
[By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear.] (John 5:30)
Jesus never claimed to be God, or part of a God. He never mentioned Trinity, nor did he appoint a church to entrust itself with reshaping the faith and re-inventing the law.
The deviation started with Paul and some others—leaders, clergy, and philosophers—centuries after Jesus’s departure.
Christianity Today= Paulianity
Christianity as we know it today was re-formulated with its concepts of:
– Trinity, centered around the prophet Jesus who was thenceforth called God, begotten son of God
– The sacrosanct Church of Christ, talking and enacting laws in the name of God
– The story of crucifixion and resurrection from the dead
– Original sin and atonement
Read for example, according to Paul (NIV):
“At once he [Paul]began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.” (Acts 9:20)
“Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel…” (2 Timothy 2:8)
Pauline Christianity Originated in Pagan Beliefs
Most of these distortions were borrowed or coined from earlier pagan creeds.
Close similarities can be found between this Pauline Christianity and Mithraism, Buddhism, and ancient Egyptian polytheist creeds.
During the seventh century CE when Muhammad (peace be upon him) was sent, there were only a few groups of followers of the original message and teachings of Jesus.
The Injeel revealed to Jesus no longer existed in any form, as was the case of the Tawrah of Moses before him.
They were replaced with the Old and New Testaments written by different human authors selected and sanctioned as holy by the Church ecumenical councils, several centuries after the departure of Jesus.
It was high time then to re-establish the eternal guidance of the Creator to all humanity, but this time in a final eternal form, through the Glorious Quran and the detailed teachings and living model of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Jesus prophesied the coming prophet whose universal message will stay forever:
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— ” (John 14:16)
I hope that you now have your puzzlement resolved. Thank you and please keep in touch.
(From AboutIslam’s archives)