Communication Guidelines

Many guidelines are helpful in discussing the subject of Islam:

1. Use the Qur’an to lead to the inspiration of the NT.

This might seem strange at first, but think of the example of Paul (Acts 17:16-34). At the Areopagus, Paul used the false religious beliefs of the Athenians to reach them with the message of Christ. Similarly, according to the Qur’an, the original NT (‘gospel’) is a revelation of God (5:46, 67, 69, 71). The Qur’an claims that Jesus should be believed by Muslims (4:171, 5:78). Christians were obligated to accept the NT of Muhammad’s day (7th century A.D., 10:94). The Qur’an states:

(10:94-95) So if you are in doubt, [O Muhammad], about that which We have revealed to you, then ask those who have been reading the Scripture before you. The truth has certainly come to you from your Lord, so never be among the doubters. And never be of those who deny the signs of Allah and [thus] be among the losers.

Muhammad would not have asked them to accept a corrupted version of the NT. Since the NT of Muhammad’s time is substantially identical to the NT of today, then by this logic, Muslims should accept the authenticity of today’s Bible.

2. Challenge the inspiration of the hadiths.

The hadiths are sacred commentaries of the Qur’an. But the Qur’an never refers to these as inspired. By contrast, the Qur’an does claim that the NT was inspired by God for “guidance and light.” Often, Muslim teachers convince Muslims not to read the Bible, but to read the hadiths instead. But what does the Qur’an say? It says that the NT is inspired—not the hadiths. As Christians, we should challenge this view, asking them, “If the Qur’an tells you to read the NT, but a human, Muslim teacher tells you not to, which are you going to listen to?”

3. Use the Arabic terms for God and Jesus.

Muslims use the name “Isa” (pronounced EE-suh) for Jesus,[1] and they use the term “Allah” for God. Some Christians feel uncomfortable using the word “Allah” for God, but this is simply the Arabic term. Medearis writes, “Allah comes from the Arabic root Al-Ilah, which simply means ‘the god’ or ‘the deity.’”[2] There is nothing wrong with using this term, because this is simply the cultural word that Arabs use. Similarly, our English word God comes from the Germanic root Gut and the old Norse Guð, which both come from Paganism![3] Christians should have no problem using the word “God” in English, and they should have no problem using the word “Allah” with an Arab.

4. Don’t write in your Bible.

Muslims have an extremely high view of the word of God. Writing in your Bible is like smoking a cigarette in front of your grandmother; it’s needlessly offensive! When you talk with your Muslim friend, you should use a clean Bible without any markings in it.

[1] Parrinder writes, “The form of the name has given rise to considerable comment though there is general agreement that Isa came from the Syriac Yeshu which derived it from the Hebrew Yeshua.” Parrinder, Geoffrey. Jesus in the Qur’an. Oxford, England: Oneworld Publications, 1996. 16.

[2] Medearis, Carl. Muslims, Christians, and Jesus. Bloomington, Minnesota. Bethany House Publishers. 2008. 30.

[3] Medearis, Carl. Muslims, Christians, and Jesus. Bloomington, Minnesota. Bethany House Publishers. 2008. 30.