Don’t stop reading after this next sentence. Christians should believe the worst about Muslims. (Keep reading.) Christians should believe the worst about Muslims in that they—like all who are without Christ—are guilty sinners before God. But that’s not all. Christians should also assume the best of Muslims. They are created in God’s image, and God loves them. He freely offers salvation to all who believe in Jesus Christ, who paid the penalty for sin.
Christians would wholeheartedly agree with the paragraph above. Muslims would wholeheartedly disagree. But every Christian’s engagement with a Muslim should be characterized by love and truth. Author Chawkat Moucarry writes with love and truth in his short book What Is Islam? By design, this work is short and easy to understand, and it treats those who disagree with courtesy. It’s part of a series aimed at Christian undergraduates called “Questions for Restless Minds” from Lexham Press, edited by D. A. Carson.
The chapters address all the topics you would expect: Scripture, God, Jesus Christ, Sin and Forgiveness, and Muhammad. There is also a chapter on the Kingdom of God. Moucarry focuses on major points of disagreement. He doesn’t waver on evangelical commitments to Scripture, Christ, and salvation, but Moucarry also strives to present both sides in good faith. He does not caricature or belittle. He offers a holistic picture of both religions to show why both Christians and Muslims both believe their particular beliefs, and he addresses variations between major sects.
A section I found personally helpful explains why Muslims argue that Islamic religious law is the preferable balance between the perceived extremes of Christianity and Judaism (cf. 85–87). He unabashedly presents the claims of the Bible without bashing those who disagree. The Bible’s teaching and Christianity’s fundamental belief in God’s oneness and triunity is complex. It’s also understandable why Muslims, who believe in a transcendent God, would have difficulty understanding how Christians can claim God as our Father. Moucarry addresses these matters graciously.
Christianity and Islam cannot both be true. What Is Islam? helpfully outlines these differences in a concise and clear manner. It also respectfully explains why the good news of Jesus Christ—His death, burial, and resurrection for sinners—is true. This book is an excellent resource for any Christian looking for an introductory comparison to the claims of Christianity and Islam. It also includes nine study questions for discussion and a list of recommended reading that includes books by Christians and Muslims.
Special thanks to Lexham Press for a free review copy of this book. This did not affect my thoughts so far as I’m aware.