Islam is one of the world’s fastest growing religions, yet myths and misconceptions about the beliefs and practices of Muslims abound. Many people don’t know how Islam differs from Christianity. In these Keys for Living, you’ll get a view behind the veil and see the significant differences between Islam and Christianity. As you learn about this religion and its followers, you’ll also discover how to be a witness for Christ and show His love and grace to your Muslim neighbors.
Islam is the name of a worldwide religion that began under the leadership of Muhammad (also spelled Mohammed or Muhammud) in the Arabian Peninsula—present-day Saudi Arabia—during the 7th century CE.
Islam is the second largest and the fastest growing religion in the world. Only Christianity has more followers. Approximately 20% of the world’s population is Islamic.
Islam means “submission,” implying submission to the will of Allah. (In Arabic, Allah literally means “the god.”)
Islam has followers called Muslims, meaning “those who submit” to the will of Allah. Muslims believe that Islam is the final, perfect religion of Allah.
Muhammad ibn Abdullah, founder of the Islamic religion, was born in the year 570 CE in Mecca. He was born within the Quraysh tribe, a people who were descendants of Ishmael, the firstborn son of Abraham.
Muhammad at age 40 began to receive disturbing visions that he later claimed were from the angel Gabriel. Defying the pagan polytheistic culture of the day, Muhammad proclaimed his key revelation: “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet.” Although he was forced to flee Mecca in 622 CE, eight years later he returned in military triumph and established Islam as the religion of all Arabia. After 22 years of revelations, Muhammad died in 632 CE and was buried in Medina.
Muhammad is described in Islam as the “seal of the prophets”—the last and greatest of a long line of Allah’s prophets, who include Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Moses, and Jesus.
“God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”
The Gospel of Luke
1 John 4:8