Sunday, June 2, 2024



#### Has Islam Improved to Become Better Than Christianity?

Does Muhammad fulfill and complete the mission and purpose of Christ? Muhammad emphatically answers 'yes.'

The core theology of Islam teaches that because Allah sent Gabriel with the Quran to Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad and the Quran fulfill and complete the mission and purpose of Christ and the New Testament. Muhammad appears to recognize the importance of the Bible (Surah 4:47; 4:136; 4:163; 5:44-48; 5:82-83; 6:92, 154), but Christianity and the New Testament must humble themselves to Islam and the Quran, the new and superior revelation.

Surah 5:15-16 illustrates Muhammad's perspective using a metaphor. In the context of Muhammad's distortion of the Christian teachings of Jesus as the Son (v. 17), and in the context of his claim that the Jews are cursed (v. 13), this passage in the Quran (representing others) states that Christians (and Jews) have been walking in darkness until Muhammad came:

**5:15 O People of the Book [Jews and Christians] . . . there has come to you now a light from God, and a clear Book [the Quran], 16 by which God guides those who follow what pleases Him to the ways of peace, bringing them out of darkness into light, by His will, and guiding them to a straight path. (Haleem) (compare with 4:157).**

A modern Christian knowledgeable of the Bible will immediately recognize the metaphor of light. Jesus says He was sent from heaven as the light of the world, and Christians have passed from darkness into light (John 1:4-5, 8:12, 9:5, 12:46; 1 Peter 2:9). But now, Muhammad claims that Christians have been living in darkness, and he has come to clarify things for them, as if they were confused. The Quran offers guidance on the "straight path," a theme repeatedly emphasized in Islamic scriptures (e.g., Surah 1) and "clarifies things." Verse 16 is one of the verses that a Muslim might consider when showing that Islam is a religion of peace. But is it true?

A committed Christian, knowledgeable of the Bible, cannot possibly believe that Islam is superior. How can we resolve this stalemate? Should we ignore it? Considering recent events such as the terrorist attacks in the United States (September 11, 9/11), this is no longer possible. Should we pretend that all religions are equal? But this forces us to deny some of the non-negotiable core doctrines that all religions have, which cannot be reconciled. Thus, should we only debate theoretical teachings?

Discussing theoretical matters like the Trinity has its place in conversations between Muslims and Christians, but no side can claim to be proven through mere observation. The Quran everywhere affirms the Oneness of God, while the New Testament firmly asserts that Jesus is God and the Holy Spirit is a person. Thus, we are left with one holy scripture against another, and to break this endless stalemate, we must use other methods. (For more reliable information on the New Testament, visit this site; for the inherent problems of the Quran, go here).

Since Muhammad opposes Christ and Christianity as true, we Christians must respond. What would Jesus say? As it happens, Jesus has given us clear teachings on how to evaluate a prophet who comes after Him in history, especially if that prophet claims to be greater than Jesus: evaluate their fruits.

In the context of the Sermon on the Mount, Christ spoke to the crowds, none of whom were theologians, or very few, but rather lower-class farmers. In Matthew 7:15-20, Christ uses unambiguous language about how to recognize the truth of prophets:

**7:15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.**

In today’s Western world, where millions of people prefer not to challenge Islam but rather accommodate it, this passage might seem intolerant. But in these verses, Christ understands the danger. Claims of religious truths have come into the world in large numbers, almost every second, and these claims are not merely theoretical; people's lives are at stake. Therefore, the cost of accommodation, especially since 9/11, is too high.

Nevertheless, it is Muhammad who claims to be greater than Christ and that his new religion is superior to Christianity. He is the one who initiated the confrontation. Thus, over 600 years before Muhammad's arrival, Christ responded to him and many other self-proclaimed prophets spreading around the Mediterranean with the fruit inspection test.

To illustrate, suppose I claim that my way is better than yours. Then I can prove my verbal claims with visible actions. My conduct will be better than yours because my actions speak louder than words. Specifically, if the founder of a religion says that husbands in my community are allowed to beat their wives (Surah 4:34), but you as a founder say that husbands in your community are not allowed to beat their wives, does my claimed superiority stand in real life? I set a bad example in practice, but you do not.

What I do is not spreading the fruit of inspection. That is, my fruit or behavior or actual actions are rotten. Thus, Jesus is absolutely right to use this simple analogy for His followers to examine the claims of prophets coming after Him. "You will know them by their fruits" (Matt 7:16).

We can see the crux of Muhammad’s objection and Christ’s fruit inspection by using a simple logical if-then (cause/effect) argument. This method is known as "modus tollens" or denying the consequent (part of the "then" clause).

**(1) If A, then B. If Islam has improved to become better than Christianity, these changes would be seen in practical, observable, and relevant ways.**

**(2) Not-B. But these changes are not seen in practical, observable, and relevant ways.**

**(3) Therefore, not-A. Therefore, Islam has not improved to become better than Christianity.**

Now we can defend each statement easily.

**(1) If Islam has improved to become better than Christianity, these changes would be seen in practical, observable, and relevant ways.**

We have already defended this statement in the preceding section. Examining the lives and actions of the founder of Christianity and the founder of Islam is the first and best way to break the endless stalemate between these two conflicting religions because we can see their behaviors and actions here on earth. You will know them by their fruits.

**(2) But these changes are not seen in practical, observable, and relevant ways.**

Defending this statement with tangible evidence clearly addresses Muhammad’s objection to Christ and demonstrates beyond doubt that Muhammad's fruit is bad, while Christ's fruit is healthy and ripe.

The following list has already been developed in this article on this site, which is the basis of this article. If the reader believes that the actual actions of Muhammad and the following Quranic verses have been taken out of context or in a non-visible state, then, once again, they should visit other websites provided in the relevant references. These ethically questionable actions happened entirely within Muhammad's community, and Muhammad, in his Quran, commands this cruelty. Also, to see Quranic verses in multiple translations, the reader should go here and type in the references, like 24:2 (24 is the Surah, and 2 is the verse). Ignore the request for Arabic Surah titles quoted differently, and type the numbers only.

* Muhammad gives nicknames to his weapons and calls himself "the destroyer."

Christ never owned weapons because he never fought wars with people.

* Muhammad in his Quran commands that adulterers be flogged a hundred lashes (Surah 24:2). Authentic Hadiths (words and deeds of Muhammad outside the Quran) command stoning.

Christ forgave the woman caught in adultery. The people who gathered to stone her dropped their stones and left. She remained, weeping until Jesus told her to go and sin no more (John 8:1-11).

* Muhammad in his Quran allowed men to beat their wives (Surah 4:34).

Neither Christ nor the New Testament writers permitted or practiced this.

* Muhammad in his Quran commands that a thief's hand, male or female, be cut off (Surah 5:38).

Christ never said to do this. The Apostle Paul said that thieves should work with their hands, not cut them off, so they can have something to share with others in need (Ephesians 4:28). In this matter (and many others), Paul surpasses Muhammad.

* Muhammad killed poets and political enemies.

Christ never killed any of his enemies or even poets (even bad ones).

* Muhammad in his Quran commands the death penalty or the cutting off of hands and feet for those who wage war or cause disorder in the land (Surah 5:33).

Christ, the Prince of Peace, died for the sins of the world so that "disorder" and "war" would end.

* Muhammad married Aisha, a girl who had not yet reached puberty, and consummated the marriage with her while she was still a young girl. For full evidence on this peculiar family affair of Muhammad, even for seventh-century Arabia

, readers should see this article. The Quran itself permits such illegal marriages for other Muslims as well (Surah 65:4).

Christ never did this and never told people to do so.

* Muhammad in his Quran promises a lush garden filled with "virgins" for martyrs who lose their lives in holy wars (Surah 44:51-56, 52:17-29, 55:46-78, 61:10, 4:74, 9:111).

Christ's martyrdom on the cross means that Christians are not required to die in holy wars to secure entry into heaven. All they need to do is believe in Jesus.

* Muhammad killed without justice around 600 Jewish men and enslaved their women and children. This atrocity is celebrated in the Quran (Surah 33:25-27).

Christ was a Jew and loved his people. Moreover, he loves all people of the world—even polytheists whom Muhammad killed—and redeems them through his death, burial, and resurrection. He was not sent to kill people.

* Muhammad launched his religious crusade in 630 CE with 30,000 fighters against the Byzantines, who did not show up (Surah 9:29).

Christ never did this. What medieval Europeans did in his name is not the foundation of Christianity. Only Jesus and the New Testament are the foundation, and they did not authorize holy wars. Muhammad, on the other hand, is the foundation of Islam and initiated holy wars against Byzantine Christians and went on many holy wars.

Surah 5:16, quoted in the introduction of this article, emphasizes strongly that Islam is a religion of peace. This list, however, contradicts these emphatic words directly. Actions speak louder than words. Therefore, Islam is not a religion of peace, see this site.

Again, if the reader believes that these claims are taken out of context, they can click on the above site and then on the other sites provided in each claim.

Christians will recognize prophets by their fruits. To put it plainly, Muhammad, the self-proclaimed messenger and prophet (Surah 3:144), has utterly failed the fruit inspection test, while Christ, the Son of God (Matt. 3:16-17), has succeeded with complete victory.

**(3) Therefore, Islam has not improved to become better than Christianity.**

This conclusion follows directly and logically.

For unbiased people willing to listen to reason, issues of practical matters like wife-beating, flogging adulterers, and marrying prepubescent girls are sufficient to make a decision. Practical actions and policies cannot be ignored unless people choose to close their eyes and refuse to see how things are wrong or perhaps if a prophet has a large army to help enforce his actions on the "weak" followers of the "imperfect" preceding religion.

And this brings us back to theoretical teachings, again using myself and the reader as an example. Before debating theoretical teachings like the nature of God, as a follower of a religion, I must pass the fruit inspection test. Suppose my habit is to kill polytheists in wars involving significant loss of life, instead of converting them through preaching or letting them live if they refuse to convert (Surah 9:4-5). On the other hand, it is not your habit to kill polytheists, but to convert them through preaching and letting them live if they refuse to convert. In these circumstances, I fail the real and visible fruit inspection test, but you succeed. Therefore, I lose my credibility to speak on other theoretical matters about the nature of God and other theoretical teachings that are not visible. It becomes evident that I either serve myself or, worse, serve a weak god. You, on the other hand, have sound practical ideas, so you deserve to be listened to.

Similarly, Muhammad's failure in his challenge to Christ can be explained with another if-then argument, this time on the logical principle called modus ponens or affirming the antecedent (the "if" clause in the first statement).

**(4) If A, then B. If Islam has not improved to become better than Christianity in practical, visible, and relevant ways, then it logically follows that it has not improved to become better than Christianity in theoretical matters that are only conceptual.**

**(5) A has been affirmed. Islam has not improved to become better than Christianity in practical, visible, and relevant ways.**

**(6) Therefore, B is affirmed. Islam has not improved to become better than Christianity in theoretical matters that are only conceptual.**

Both statements can be defended easily.

**(4) If Islam has not improved to become better than Christianity in practical, visible, and relevant ways, then it logically follows that it has not improved to become better than Christianity in theoretical matters that are only conceptual.**

Muhammad is the exemplar of Islam since he was the conduit through which Allah revealed the superior religion, so we use him again to assess Islam. Fruit inspection says that if a prophet fails to produce it, then his conceptual claims are suspect. In a non-religious context, this standard is too high because all humans have flaws. A physicist is allowed to discuss theoretical concepts about space and time even if his life is mixed up or even full of sin. But in a religious context, especially when one religious leader (Muhammad) claims to be greater than another leader (Christ), this standard is critical and unavoidable.

Furthermore, historical facts confirm Muhammad's failure in conceptual ideas. For example, it is an established fact that the New Testament is reliable, while the Quran has its share of flaws. (For more information on this topic, see these pages here and here). Also, it is a proven fact that Muhammad was not well-versed in higher concepts. What he did was take a mix of ideas circulating on trade routes and incorporate them into his Quran (such as the illogical idea denying Christ's crucifixion in Surah 4:157) and claim them as divine revelation from Allah. Thus, in clear and tangible ways, Muhammad was not improving Christianity (and Judaism) but distorting the two preceding religions. Therefore, historical facts confirm that he may not be accurate in conceptual teachings and does not understand what he is talking about.

**(5) Islam has not improved to become better than Christianity in practical, visible, and relevant ways.**

After reading the list in the second point, any fair-minded person seeking to know, who is rational and whose thoughts are not clouded by lifelong commitment to Islam, will conclude that Muhammad has failed the fruit inspection test in practical, visible, and relevant ways.

**(6) Therefore, it logically follows that Islam has not improved to become better than Christianity in theoretical matters that are only conceptual.**

These conclusions logically and clearly follow.

By using the extensive list of differences between Christ and Muhammad in the second point, why would fair-minded people and those willing to listen to reason listen to Muhammad's theoretical teachings that deny the Trinity or the deity of Christ (Surah 2:116, 6:101, 4:171, 5:73) or that support the distortion of the Quran (unless he has a large army with him)? Fruit inspectors with fair minds and who are willing to listen to reason can see that his Inspired book is questionable because his life was questionable and filled with unjust actions. Indeed, fair-minded people have the right to prefer the true and gentle Book of Christ, even if it is claimed to have "errors," any day and all days over Muhammad's scriptures that claim to be "perfect" but are excessive. First, Muhammad must show his exemplary life before being allowed to preach about high theological concepts or before his conceptual revelations are taken seriously.

For ordinary Christians, especially the early followers whom Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount for first-century Israeli farmers, Christ says that by the fruits of a prophet, his followers will know. Once a prophet's fruit is bad, or starts producing a bad tree, they do not need to inspect his conceptual claims. This person becomes a false prophet - these are weighty words, but they are the words of Christ (Matt. 7:15).

Three questions: Does this failure to pass the fruit inspection render the entire debate meaningless? If Christian and Islamic theologians in a conference room want to debate the Trinity, they are free to do so, although there are doubts about how much they can achieve. Their discussions are purely academic. However, they should not expect millions upon millions of Bible-literate Christians worldwide to feel compelled to engage in these debates. But even if they like to discuss high theology, they are free to do so. Muslims should not be surprised, however, if at the end of the day, these Christians do not accept Muhammad and his revelations as true because Christ already told his followers what to look for: good fruits (Matt. 7:15-20). Muhammad lived a controversial life preserved in his Quran, which claims to be eternal and without error, so Christians are allowed to question the Quran on conceptual matters.

Is the relationship between practical and theoretical matters something that cannot contradict itself? Christ in Matt. 7:15-20 suggests that this relationship cannot contradict itself. Again, if Muhammad was wrong about practical matters like wife-beating, flogging adulterers, launching military crusades, killing poets and enemies, and promising his fighters lush gardens filled with virgins if they die in holy wars, why should Christians listen to Muhammad on theoretical matters, especially since the New Testament everywhere confirms, for example, that Christ is God and the Holy Spirit is a person? And more importantly, why would Christians want to convert to Islam, given Muhammad's questionable conduct?

Is there no good fruit (virtue) related to Muhammad? Even a failure to pass the fruit inspection test can have some good qualities. The founder of a movement should show some level of gentleness if he wants his community to endure. But good qualities do not beat and hurt others. However, bad behaviors beat, hurt

, and harm others. The overall picture of Muhammad's life in Medina (622-632) shows him waging wars against polytheists (capturing Mecca); against Jews (expelling and killing them); and against Christians (initiating crusades). In the ten years he lived there, he went on, sent, or initiated seventy-four attacks, raids, or full battles, ranging from peaceful negotiations (very few compared to brutal attacks) to killing raiding parties to capturing Mecca with 10,000 fighters to crusading wars with 30,000 fighters against the Byzantines (who did not show up). No one can cleanse this dark picture with a few good qualities.

Therefore, Muhammad does not fulfill or complete the mission and purpose of Christ; quite the contrary, for Christ came to the world to show the love of God. Indeed, Muhammad and Islam are a distorted interpretation of Christ and Christianity, and the Quran is worse than the New Testament from an inspectable perspective.

Has Islam improved to become better than Christianity? Based on observable evidence, the answer is a strong no. Muhammad has utterly failed.


**Dr. Maxwell Shimba**

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