The ongoing conflict between Christianity and Islam, both unspoken and acted upon, involve studying the respective theologies and cultures of the two religions. Islam dates back to roughly the same time as the later Judeo-Christian religions of old, and the majority of Abrahamic religions still practiced today can be traced back to between the 2nd and 7 centuries, with Judaism and some pagan religions dating back even farther.
Christianity and Islam generally appear to worship the same God, albeit interpreting him and his will and commands slightly differently. Most of Islam’s theology is based generally around the works and teachings of the prophet Muhammad, whereas a large part of Christianity’s teachings and theology is based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth in the New Testament. In Christianity, God exists in three consubstantial persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, of which Jesus is the second. The Islamic view of a monotheistic religion is rooted firmly on the belief that Allah, their god, is not a third of the Holy Trinity.
Islam perceives Jesus Christ as a prophet sent by Allah – a contradiction to the Christian belief that He is the Son of God, a divine being adored and glorified. While the Qur’an states that Jesus was simply raised to heaven by Allah, the Holy Bible outlines His crucifixion and death, which preceded His resurrection. Conceived by the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ was born of a virgin named Mary, whom the angel Gabriel appeared to with good news. Islamic teachings, on the other hand, liken the Holy Spirit to Gabriel – a messenger to whom the Qur’an was coursed through. The similarities and dissimilarities in each religion’s perception of God also extends to how certain religious events are formed and celebrated.
For instance, Christians celebrate the birth of Christ while Muslims do not believe it to be a holy day of obligation. The Holy Bible credits man’s very existence and salvation to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, while the Qur’an presents Jesus Christ as a prophet and not a god, much less the son of one, unlike Allah whom Muslims revere, worship, and praise. These contrasting beliefs, like many others, are stated respectively in the Holy Bible and the Qur’an:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” -Bible: John 3:16
“He is Allah,2 the One and Unique; Allah, Who is in need of none and of Whom all are in need; He neither begot any nor was He begotten, and none is comparable to Him.” Qur’an 112:1-4
The degree to which God is held sheds light on the timeless question of what makes Jesus Christ different from Allah. Despite the stark contrast between beliefs, progressive and devout Christians and Muslims have since learned to accept the innumerable differences in teachings, beliefs, practices, and customs, enabling a coexistence protected by tolerance.