A Quick Overview of Muslim Beliefs and Practices
Many of the refugees coming from Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq are Muslim. It is important to understand what they believe.
Allah is their name for God. There are 99 names depicting Allah’s character, but he cannot be known personally. He is not the same as Jehovah.
Muhammad is considered to be the final prophet by Muslims, who see him as a descendent of Abraham through Ishmael. He was born about 600 years after Jesus.
The Quran is considered to be a compilation of recitations given to the prophet Muhammad by the angel Jibril (Gabriel) over a 23-year period.
The Hadith is a compilation of the sayings and actions of Muhammad collected from oral stories 200 years after his time. (To learn about the Islamic traditions read, A Muslim's Mind: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Islamic Traditions, by Edward J. Hoskins)
Muslim Practices: The Five Pillars
Repetition of the creed: (Shahada) “There is one God, Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of God.” Repeating this makes one a Muslim.
Prayer: (Salat) A ritual 5 times daily, facing towards Mecca after performing prescribed washing.
Almsgiving: (Zakat) 2.5 percent of their income goes to help the poor and support Islamic causes.
Fasting: (Roza) Muslims must fast for 30 days during the month of Ramadan from sunrise to sunset.
Hajj: The pilgrimage to Mecca required once in a lifetime for every person who is financially and physically able.
Jihad: Holy war to advance Islam; internal spiritual struggle.
Muslims believe in God, Angels, Holy Books, Prophets, the Day of Judgment, and Predestination to do good or evil.
Regarding sin, Muslims believe humanity is not sinful by nature and does not need a savior.
Regarding salvation, Muslims believe that their good deeds must outweigh their bad deeds to get to Paradise (heaven). Muslims have no assurance that they will get to Paradise.
For more in-depth explanation of theological challenges posed by Islam, see “Key Theological Challenges in Discipling Muslim Background Believers,” Intercede, January/February 2016, by Ken Ferguson.
Muslim Accusations against Christianity
“The Bible has been corrupted or changed.”
“Christians believe in three Gods: The Father, Son, and Mary.”
Muslims will say they believe in Jesus but what they really mean is:
o “Jesus is only a prophet.”
o “Jesus is not the Son of God.” He is not divine.
o “Jesus was not crucified.
o “Jesus did not rise from the dead.” There is no resurrection.
Islam is not one monolithic block. For an excellent description of different types of Muslims and how to share Jesus with them’, see Don McCurry’s book, Healing the Broken Family of Abraham.
For more in-depth study, refer to the publications and resources on the Global Initiative website.
Hoskins, Edward J. 2011. A Muslim's Mind: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Islamic Traditions. Colorado Springs, CO: Dawson Media.
McCurry, Don M. 2011. Healing the Broken Family of Abraham: New Life for Muslims. Colorado Springs, CO: Ministries to Muslims.
McCurry, Don. 2021. Jesus’s Love for Folk Muslims. Colorado Springs, CO: Ministries to Muslims.