Islam and Christianity differ significantly when it comes to their understanding of God; one major distinction being their respective terminology for Him: Christians and Jews refer to God, while Muslims use Allah instead.
Arabic translation of “Allah” vs. Christian conception is significantly different: Allah does not possess three persons in his Trinity and vice versa.
Table of Contents
1. They are not the same
People frequently mistake Allah and God as being synonymous, since both refer to a deity. However, this is far from accurate: in Arabic the term Allah literally translates as “the god,” while Christians and Jews use God instead as their term for their deity.
Notably, Allah was used by both Jews and Arab Christians before Islam came onto the scene; yet many Muslims forget or simply don’t care to learn this fact, believing instead that the God of the Bible and Allah are one and the same – leading to confusion and conflict among believers.
According to Islamic scholars, Allah derives its name from two Arabic words — al and ilah — meaning “the god,” with ilah being at the root of Hebrew’s elohim word. Due to Arabic spelling being settled before grammarians began using diacritics like alif to spell alif as well, Allah does not come out pronounced as “ah-luh.”
Reason for Allah and God being different lies within their respective beliefs systems, with Muslims not holding to a triune concept whereas Christians and Jews believe in one God that encompasses Father, Son and Holy Spirit as one entity whereas muslims believe in a single monotheistic deity which does not hold this characteristic.
Islam and Christianity differ significantly when it comes to their views of Jesus as the son of God and Savior for humanity, respectively. Muslims do not adhere to Christian belief that Jesus is their Messiah (John 1:1) while Christians believe he is both son of God and savior – an essential distinction that sets Allah apart from his biblical counterpart, Jesus.
There are other differences between Allah and god; among them being that Muslims believe Allah to be transcendent, not engaging with humanity directly, while Christians see Jesus Christ as someone who wants a close relationship with us and sympathizes with our pain and suffering. Furthermore, Muslims do not believe Allah begets children – another clear indication they do not consider Allah the same God as that described in the Bible.
2. They are not the same in person
No matter the similarities between Allah and God (such as both being powerful creators of all that exists), their differences in connotations can be profound. When comparing two bibles, it’s not enough to just compare covers or that both include Genesis; one might feature larger print, thumb indexing, and concordance in its back end – considerations often overlooked when making comparisons.
Muslims use the term Allah to refer to their God of faith. The term derives from Arabic ilah which corresponds with Mesopotamian IL and Hebrew-Aramaic El, such as Ishmael, Immanuel and Israel in their Bibles. Christians refer to their god of faith as Yahweh.
Many Christian missionaries argue that the God of Islam and that of the Bible are interchangeable due to similar words and concepts, yet this argument fails as the differences in meaning far outweigh similarities. Allah cannot be seen as being Yahweh because he does not love sinners like Yahweh does.
Allah does not procreate children in either spiritual or physical ways like Yahweh does; and does not share his divinity with his son as is central to biblical God’s nature. Furthermore, Islam teaches that its God consists of three parts–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–whereas the Old Testament God of Islam was triune–Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Finally, the Yahweh Elohim of the Islamic Quran does not correspond with Yahweh Elohim of the Bible in that he does not accept Jesus Christ as His son and savior. Indeed, Christians who worship Jesus as Lord are denounced by Islam and warned to go directly into hell. Conversely, Christianity celebrates Jesus as both God-man and sacrifice; therefore all true believers will be saved through his death and resurrection whereas Islam denounces those who do so, yet Christians who do so risk damnation while Christians who do so will go straight into hell whereas in contrast the Bible embraces Jesus as God-man while Islam worshipers follow him because He loves all people equally and loves all people equally compared with Islam which explicitly denounces those who do so!
3. They are not the same in spirit
Though Allah and God may both refer to the same deity, their meanings differ significantly in spirit. Allah comes from Arabic root alah which translates as “god.” Additionally, this root can also be found as part of Hebrew lah, which translates as “Lord.” Both words refer to an all-powerful being responsible for creating all things.
No matter their religious traditions, Christians and Muslims share many beliefs about God that transcend religious differences. Both believe He is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-present, compassionate, merciful – characteristics which manifest themselves through creation as well as prophets’ visits – yet there may be differences in how Allah and God are presented to followers of each religion.
Example: Muslim God does not depict love as much as biblical God does. Of the 99 names that Muslims memorize and use for worship, none include “latif”, or love. Their god can be described as benevolent but doesn’t express himself towards sinners – not something found in Scripture where He loves all people unconditionally despite any shortcomings they might possess.
Islam differs significantly from Christianity in that it disbelieves in a trinity – three distinct persons who exist as one entity – as well as rejecting the idea that God became human through an incarnation process and lived among us humans for some time. Christianity holds that God exists in three separate persons who coexist simultaneously. This represents another significant distinction.
Ultimately, differences between Allah and God result from cultural and historical influences rather than from corrupted divine revelation. They reflect differences in motivations, hopes, fears, and aspirations embedded in religion.
Ultimately, differences between Allah and God are minor and don’t impact how believers worship this divine being. What unites these two faiths is their shared belief in a loving, all-powerful, all-present god; thus making their worship compatible. Nonetheless, it’s important to keep in mind that differences aren’t enmities but simply points of interpretation and understanding between one faith and the other.
4. They are not the same in time
Muslims commonly refer to God by using the term Allah. Many use this term to distinguish their version of Him from that of Christians, though Christians should note that the etymology of this term differs. Both words refer to powers which can be invoked; however Allah comes from polytheistic religion systems while God hails from monotheistic Jewish traditions.
The Arabic term Allah derives its meaning from two root words, al (the) and ilah (deity). There are similar terms in other Semitic languages such as Old Testament Hebrew for god: El or YHWH. Yahweh in scripture refers to this one-eyed monotheistic deity who does not bear children and whose glory can be seen through his Holy Spirit.
Islam sees Allah as an all-powerful deity who created everything we live in and believes he alone is God, while all other gods are false idols. This belief runs contrary to both Christianity and Islamic scripture, both of which teach that there is only one true god (God being triune), as well as Koranic teachings which claim Christians who believe in a triune God are infidels for believing this description is correct.
Muslims commonly make the accusation that Allah is responsible for evil; this contrasts with biblical God who does not create or condone sin in any form. Indeed, scripture teaches that all sin in our world stems from man rejecting His offer of grace and forgiveness.
While Allah may carry with it some negative connotations, it’s an entirely legitimate name to use when speaking of the one true God. This term was in use long before Islamic prophet Muhammad came along, as well as among Arab-speaking Christians and Islamic religious figures alike. Yet biblical Scripture recognizes Yahweh as their name of choice when talking about Yahweh as their creator God.