Is Allah the same as the Christian God?

Last updated on April 20, 2024

Both Muslims and Christians believe that there is only one God. However, their beliefs about this one God are different. This raises the question whether they refer to the same God, or to different gods. Let’s unpack this question in order to find an answer.

The word ‘Allah’

  • ‘Allah’ is not a personal name. It is the Arabic word for ‘the god’ and was widely used before Muhammad was born. When Muhammad rejected the existence of multiple gods, people started using the word ‘Allah’ as a kind of personal name for the one God of the universe. After all, there are no others.
  • In a similar way, the Bible uses the Hebrew word ‘Elohim’, which also means ‘god’ or ‘gods’. Since Christians also believe there is only one true God, they can use this word without further names or titles. It is clear whom they are referring to when using the word ‘God’, since there is no other. So, while God has several personal names in the Bible, very often He is just called ‘Elohim’ / ‘God’.
  • Arabic Christians sometimes use the word ‘Allah’ in their translation of the Bible, since it’s the word for ‘god’ in their language. So, they use the word ‘Allah’ to refer to ‘Elohim’.

To clarify this a little bit, think of the word ‘moon’. We know that there exist other planets in the universe that have their own moons. But we usually don’t speak about ‘the moon of this earth’ or ‘our moon’ as opposed to others. We just speak about ‘the moon’. This noun functions as a name, since for all practical purposes there only is one moon we normally refer to.

So, are Muslims and Christians just using a different language while actually referring to the same God?

Who is God? Two different answers

Christians and Muslims agree that there is one God who has created the universe, including us humans. Both believe that God is almighty and merciful. Both believe that He reveals Himself through prophets and holy scriptures that serve as guidelines for us humans. However, there are some crucial differences when it comes to God’s nature and character. The most important difference is, that Muslims believe in the absolute oneness and uniqueness of Allah, whereas Christians believe that God is triune (a composite unity existing of three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Muslims consider it blasphemy to say that Jesus is God. For Christians, this statement is at the heart of their faith. They believe that Jesus is God the Son, part of the trinity.

Nabeel Qureshi, an author who was raised in a Muslim family but converted to Christianity[1], writes the following. “The question of whether Muslims and Christians worship the same God is complex, and there is much more that could be said. Ultimately, when we understand the Trinity, we realize that the doctrine is not just a theological curiosity. It has far-reaching implications for how we ought to live and how we see the world, and it makes the Christian God categorically different from the Muslim God. It is what makes God relational, what makes his love eternal. It is how God can be in us through the Holy Spirit, while being over us as the Father, and suffering for us in the Son.[2]

The Bible says that God is relational, and that He longs to have personal relationships with us humans. He loves us and is interested in our personal struggles. The Quran, however, says that Allah is too holy to have personal relationships with man. These are some crucial differences between the Muslim and the Christian view of God.

Conclusion

Both Muslims and Christians believe that there is only one God. However, their understanding of this one true God is vastly different. So much so, that they do not really worship the same God. The Muslim and the Christian view cannot be combined or coexist. Only one of them can be true. As a Christian, I am convinced that the Bible is the best source to find out Who God really is! Did you already read this amazing book? What do you think about it?

 

[1] You can read Qureshi’s life story in his book “Seeking Allah, finding Jesus”.

[2] Nabeel A. Qureshi, “No God but One. Allah or Jesus?”. Zondervan: 2016. The quote is taken from question 1, part 2, chapter 8, page 72.

 

Share post