A cult1 is a group that departs from the basic beliefs of Christianity yet claims to be Christian. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are a fine example of a cult. They claim to honor the God of the Bible and to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, yet they have re-written the Bible to fit their own teachings, that is, the teachings of Charles Taze Russell, including Russell’s idea that Jesus was not God. Yet, in spite of all these fundamental changes, Jehovah’s Witnesses think they are Christians. They are not.
Islam is a major world religion, not a group claiming to be Christian. Therefore, Islam is not a cult… in the Christian sense of the word.
Christianity and Islam own very different sets of scriptures.
Christianity is based upon the Holy Bible, especially the 27 books of the New Testament. The New Testament books were completed between 40 A.D. and 96 A.D. The authors were inspired by God to create a written record of His revelation. Those original manuscripts have been copied and circulated and translated into other languages with great accuracy.
Islam is based upon the Koran, a collection of revelations given by Allah to his archangel then given to Mohammed. Allah passed on his revelations in oral form. After his death, Islamic leaders sorted through the oral verses and chose which ones would be included in written form in the Koran.
Mohammed’s revelations started five centuries after the New Testament was completed. He died in 632 A.D. before making a written copy of his revelations but a few of his followers had memorized his recitations. Unfortunately, those followers were also vulnerable to death during battle and by natural causes. An influential Muslim named Umar realized that the original Qu’ran was being lost piece by piece. He insisted that whatever fragments existed should be collected into one book. A man named Zaid bin Thabit collected fragments and memorized recitations into a single collection. He decided what to include and exclude. This book was kept by the caliph Abu Bakr until his death and he was succeeded by Umar. Eventually, Zaid’s book was copied and distributed accompanied by an order to burn all other versions of the Qu’ran including the version by Abdullah bin Masud and another version by Ubayy bin Ka’b. In 1972, the remodeling of an ancient mosque in Yemen turned up a hidden collection of ancient variant manuscripts that had not been destroyed.
In 2004, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) advertised,
“Like Christians, Muslims respect and revere Jesus. Islam teaches that Jesus is one of the greatest of God’s prophets and messengers to humankind.”
“Like Christians, every day, over 1.3 billion Muslims strive to live by his teachings of love, peace and forgiveness. Those teachings, which have become universal values, remind us that all of us, Christians, Muslims, Jews, and all other have more in common than we think.”
The “Jesus” revered in the Koran is not the same Jesus of the New Testament. The Koran does borrow from the New Testament. It teaches that Jesus (Isa) was born of a virgin named Mary (Maryam2). It borrows from the Christian doctrine from John 1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” and describes Isa as the word of Allah, but the word is not Allah. The Koran even borrows from I Corinthians 15 where Jesus Christ is called Adam because of His antithetical position to the original Adam.
Islam teaches that Isa is merely one of many great prophets. The Islamic Jesus had a book, the Injeel. Muslims believe that this book was the original revelation from God which was altered and adulterated until it became the New Testament. (…but the manuscripts for the New Testament pre-date Islam!)
The Islamic Jesus did not die for anyone’s sins. Islam teaches that God placed the likeness of Isa upon another man who was then crucified through mistaken identity.
The Koran says that Allah has no son… twelve times.
The Koran denies the possibility of the deity of Jesus Christ. Therefore:
Christians and Muslims do not worship the same God.
Mohammed was a false prophet.
The Koran is not from God.
Allah of the Koran is a false god.
1Some people confuse the word “cult” and “occult”. The occult is stuff like black magic. It means stuff that is secret, mystical, magical, supernatural. Just to make it blurrier, a cult may practice the occult.
2The Koran gets confused over the person of Mary. It says she is the wife of Imram (Amram, the father of Moses and Aaron). It also calls her the sister of Aaron… and that her special child is a girl, not a boy. There is also a story of three-year-old Mary being fed by angels in the Temple. This story was borrowed from the Protoevangelium (Infancy Gospel) of James, an gnostic book written in the second century. Mohammed may have mistakenly believed this non-biblical storybook contained historical facts.