Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God? Some say yes. I say no. Those who say they are the same do so based upon similarities between Allah and Jehovah. Those who hold the sameness position say Muslims worship the same God as Christians but do so with errors in their understanding of God. That is to say; they simply need some correction in their understanding of God because they already worship the right God. In support of the same God theory, they would point out that Christians and Muslims each believe their God possesses similar attributes, both are monotheistic, both accept the Old and New Testament scriptures, although Islam says there are errors, and both have similarities in their recounting of history.
William Lane Craig similarly notes, “Christians believe that God is an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-holy, eternal, spiritual Being who created the universe. Muslims agree with all these attributes (or properties) of God. This isn’t surprising, since Islam, historically speaking, is an off-shoot of the Judeo-Christian religious tradition. So our understanding of what God is like is in many respects the same.”
Some missionaries believe recognizing Muslims worship the same God as Christians facilitates witnessing to Muslims. It establishes a common ground from which to speak instead of having to begin by telling Muslims they worship a false god. I can appreciate missionaries’ desire to use the sameness argument to establish common ground with Muslims so that it is easier to witness to them. This is a common practice in witnessing. This is a valuable approach in witnessing to anyone but particularly to false religions and cults like Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
While there is surely a benefit in establishing common ground with those we seek to bring to the truth, it seems clear neither the similarities that Allah and Jehovah share nor the missionary’s love for the Muslim supports the idea that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. If they were, in reality, the same God, Muslims would not need to reject Allah and accept Jehovah, but only need to get a clearer understanding of just who they worship since Allah is Jehovah and Jehovah is Allah. While I admire the missionary’s love for Muslims and desire to see them come to Christ, something of which we need more, this love cannot justify even the slightest blurring of the uniqueness of Jehovah. There are other ways to build common ground, such as love for family, common hurts and pleasures, and human struggles; none of which potentiate or actually undermine the uniqueness of Jehovah.
Let me also say, the issue is not whether a person can legitimately use the Arabic term Allah for the English word God when speaking Arabic or speaking English to those in an Aramaic-speaking culture. But even then one must take care not to make Allah and Jehovah the same God, but only to recognize that is the proper address of a Muslim for God. Of course, in any language one is speaking, it seems appropriate to use a grammatical equivalent. The issue that must not be accepted is the contention of some that Allah of the Quran, whom Muslims worship and follow, is the same God as depicted in the Bible; meaning the only difference is the Quranic Allah is an incomplete picture. Thus, they are not two different gods, but one God in which Islam simply needs to correct a few things. It is equating the two gods to be one God, Jehovah.
One last thought before considering my reasons against the same God contention. I do recognize there are varying levels of understanding by true worshippers of Jehovah within the household of Christianity. We are still worshipping one true God as revealed in the Bible, but lacking clarity or precision in areas, which simply reminds us that we are all growing in our understanding. I would even say a person who is not an adherent of Christianity may be speaking about the God of Scripture when he speaks of God even though his perspective is woefully incomplete. However, such recognition does not transfer to the myriad of pagan gods, which would include Allah.
Allah and Jehovah are similar, but they are also essentially dissimilar.
Two things can have dissimilarities and be the same, whereas essential dissimilarities (dissimilar in the very essence, core or nature) between them means they can only be similar; they cannot be the same. For example, you and I can both be human (same sort of beings), even though we may be dissimilar in various ways (sex, height, weight, etc.). We still have humanness because we are created in the image of God. In contrast, a chimpanzee can be similar to a human (some abilities and physical characteristics), but a chimpanzee cannot be a human being because we are essentially dissimilar; they are not created in the image of God.
Since Allah emphatically denies the legitimacy of the Trinity, which includes the relationship of the Father and Son, and the deity of Christ, Allah and Jehovah cannot be the same. By Allah’s self-revelation about himself, Allah denounces the biblical portrait of the nature of Jehovah of Scripture. Allah says in the Quran “They do blaspheme who say God is one of three . . . for there is no Allah except one Allah (Surah 5:73; & 112.003I).
Allah even denies the need for a redemptive plan, the entire salvific plan of the Father, communicated by the Holy Spirit and carried out by the Son. He says, “The similitude of Isa [Jesus] before God is as that of Adam; He created him from dust” (Surah 3:59). He says Jesus is one of the apostles, (Surah 4:171). The Quran claims Jesus only appeared to be crucified, “They said in boast ‘We killed Christ Isa, the son of Mary’ . . . but they killed him not, nor crucified him” (Surah 4:157).
For Allah and Jehovah to be the same would require that Allah did not even know himself. It means not merely that Muslims are mistaken about Allah but that Allah is not self-aware enough to even know himself. Related to this, Craig notes, “So I trust you can see how absurd is the claim that the God of Mohammed is the Father of Jesus Christ….The God of the Qur’an is a defamation of the Heavenly Father proclaimed and revealed by Jesus.”
There are specific claims by Allah that are absolutely irreconcilable with Scripture.
The Quran states: “They are unbelievers who say, ‘God is the Messiah, Mary’s son.’ Surely, whoever associates anything with God, God shall prohibit him entrance to Paradise and his home shall be the Fire. None shall help the evil-doers” (Surah 5.73). Compare this with Matt 1:16, 25.
Again, the Quran declares, “The Creator of the heavens and the earth—how should he have a son, seeing that He has no consort, and He created all things” (Surah 6.102). Compare this with Matt 3:17. In Christianity God loves the world (John 3:16), but the Quran says of Allah, “God loves not the unbelievers” (Surah 3.33). Islamic scholar Azim Nanji says, “In denying plurality, the Quran rejects all forms of idolatry, disallows any association of other divinities with God, and specifically denies all other definitions of God that might compromise unity, such as the Christian dogma of the Trinity.”
Importantly, since Allah is believed to be the all-knowing God, and both the Old Testament and New Testament were written and known by Allah and his prophet, we have no less than Allah repudiating many claims of Jehovah in the Scripture. That is to say, if Allah is Jehovah, then he is, at best, contradictory. These kind of contradictions are many, some of which are addressed elsewhere in this article.
The sameness contention undermines the scripture’s teaching about false gods.
If Allah and Jehovah are the same, meaning Muslims only need some correction rather than a rejection of Allah, why would that not be true with every other cult or religion that proclaims a god in which there are some similarities between their description of god and Jehovah? At a minimum, this would make the Scripture’s recognition of a plethora of pagan gods a bit extreme. Maybe to the point that there really are no false gods, only gods who are in need of adjustments or who need to communicate better so their worshipers can realize they worship the one true God, Jehovah.
Clearly, such a postulation is at least as absurd as is the claim that Allah is the same as Jehovah, just in need of some clarifications. Since for that to be true, it would require significant obfuscation of the truth that it is Allah himself and not just Muslims who reject much of the Old and New Testament’s depiction of God. Allah knowingly contradicts what Christ said about God the Father and himself, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). The Quran states, “Allah forgiveth not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgiveth anything else, to whom He pleaseth; to set up partners with Allah is to devise a sin Most heinous indeed” (Surah 4:48 004.048).
Surah 18:4–5 says of those who say God has a son, “Surely, of this they have no knowledge, neither they nor their fathers; it is a monstrous word that comes from their mouths, they say nothing but a lie.” In Islam, Jesus is not the savior; He did not die on the cross for man’s sins, but He is a prophet and a worshipper of Allah.
The Muslims are only claiming precisely what Allah revealed about himself in Quran. Now, either he knows himself, which means he emphatically rejects God as revealed in Scripture, or he is having an identity crisis so that he does not know himself. Either way, Allah and Jehovah are not the same.
It is possible for a person to hold to some false ideas about Jehovah and yet still be worshiping and following him. But there is most certainly a point in which one’s ideas are so contradictory to the revelation regarding Jehovah that one is worshiping and following a false god. If this is not true, then it can be said all people worship the same God, but some worship him with incomplete knowledge, which seems to mutilate the Scriptures about false gods, not just false worship. Islam is such a case of irreconcilable essentials.
The Trinity does not merely tell what God is like; it tells us who he is. For example, if I ask if you know Mike Brown, and you say yes; then you ask a clarifying question of whether he grew up in Arkansas where he also played football. To which I respond saying yes. One could conclude we are talking about the same person. As we talk, we find other things Mike Brown did, and it still sounds as though we are talking about the same person. However, you then mention Mike played football last year; to which I exclaim, “What!” I go on to say Mike Brown is 72 years old and in a nursing home. This statement makes us both realize that while we are using the same appellation, and the persons we are referencing even have historical and human similarities, we are not talking about the same person. They are similar, but they are not the same individual.
Seeking to view Allah as the same as Jehovah is like saying Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons follow the same Jesus as Christians do, but just with an incomplete understanding. This argument even has more basis (although damningly wrong) than Allah being Jehovah because they even use the same name, both use the Scripture, and Witnesses exclusively so; even though Witnesses deny the deity of Christ, which necessarily includes the Trinity. Anyone who is familiar with either of these cults can unequivocally say they do not worship the true God wrongly, but they truly worship the wrong God. They have the wrong Jesus. They reject the complete biblical revelation of the essential nature of Christ and describe him in ways that make the Jesus they follow and the Jesus Christians follow mutually exclusive. To deny the Trinity and say Jesus is not God as Jehovah Witnesses do, or that we all become gods and Jesus is Lucifer’s brother as Mormons declare is not just an incomplete understanding, it speaks of a completely different person. The same can be said of Islam.
As with our example of Mike from Arkansas, we are discussing two people with the same name, not one person with differences. Another way to illustrate this reality is by considering Jesus historically. Given that Rome crucified approximately three-thousand people, and that Jesus was a common name, it is quite probable Rome crucified more than one man named Jesus; however, the only one who died for sins is the one predicted in the Scripture, and he is the only one in which one can find salvation. Scripture meticulously describes him. One may believe in the Christ of Scripture without knowing all the theology, but one cannot reject the clear revelation of God and thereby present another Jesus as the same; precisely what Islam does regarding the triune God and Jesus. Muhammed claimed he received his revelation from Allah, and it is Allah who describes himself as essentially different from Scripture’s description of Jehovah. It is Allah who rejects the deity and Sonship of Jesus as well, thereby lucidly demonstrating that he is not Jehovah; for Allah to be Jehovah would mean he does not know his only begotten Son or himself.
The reality is, things or persons who are similar are not necessarily the same; some are simply similar. As mentioned earlier, determining whether things (or beings in our discussion) are the same or just similar is determined by whether or not there are essential dissimilarities between the things under consideration. If essential dissimilarities exist, then the two people or events cannot be the same regardless of how many similarities there may be. There can only be varying degrees of similarity.
The Samaritan woman is not supportive of the sameness argument.
It seems illegitimate to use the worship of the Samaritan woman we find in John 4:7–45 to support the case that Muslims worship Jehovah only with an incomplete understanding of Jehovah. The illegitimacy can be seen in that much of the discussion in this passage is not about the nature of God (unlike the sameness argument), but it is about who Jesus is, who she is, and which is the correct place of worship (vs. 7–24). Two significant things about our discussion: she understood Jesus to be a prophet (vs. 19), she knew the Messiah was coming, and the identifying mark would be that he “will declare all things to us” (vs. 25). Jesus responded, “I who speak to you am he” (vs. 26)
Here is her response to Jesus’s declaration, “So the woman left her waterpot, and went into the city and said to the men, ‘Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?’ They went out of the city, and were coming to Him” (John 4:28–30). Then the following transpired, “From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, ‘He told me all the things that I have done.’ So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. Many more believed because of His word; and they were saying to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world’” (John 4:39–42).
This woman gladly received the words of Christ and told others about him, which is the exact opposite of what Allah did when he encountered the claims of Christ. The Quran says, “The similitude of Isa [Jesus] before God is as that of Adam; He created him from dust” (Surah 3:59). It also says, “He is one of God’s apostles” (Surah 4:171). This surah clearly reveals that for Muslims to worship Jehovah they would have to reject Allah’s description of himself and Christ, not merely their understanding.
Seeing Allah and Jehovah as the same is a most profound and blasphemous conflation of the true God with paganism. Where does it stop? How does it stop if we marginalize the attributes of Jehovah that make him unique? How can it stop if Christians make Allah and Jehovah the same God, only separated by inadequate understandings? This viewpoint is in direct opposition to the revelation of Allah regarding himself and Jehovah’s revelation of himself, both of which are mutually exclusive? Is the Quran that confused about who Allah is? Are Muslims okay with being considered that confused about the Quran and Allah?
Jehovah is unique; similarities between Jehovah and Allah can only make them similar since Allah is essentially dissimilar to Jehovah—Trinity. Attempts to make them the same with differences deny Jehovah’s uniqueness, and thereby, vulgarizes him (Exod 9:14; Isa 44:6–8).
The Samaritan woman is not a meaningful example because she was looking for the Messiah, she gladly received the words of Christ, and she believed in Christ, which is precisely the opposite of what Allah did, as well as his prophet Muhammad. Additionally, many cults started by believing all or much of the Scripture, retain various biblical components, include patriarchs, but veer away from it to start an irreconcilable faith with an irreconcilable view of God (Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons), which is precisely what Mohammed did, as inspired by Allah.
It seems we should witness to everyone with a very clear understanding that there is only one true God (John 17:3). If there is, according to Scripture, only one true God, then all other gods are necessarily false, including the Quranic Allah. I for one shy away from taking any liberties that might ever so slightly indicate that Allah and God are the same but with differences. We are not talking about ecclesiology, eschatology, etc. (as important as they are), but we are talking about the one true sufficiently revealed God of Scripture.
In all my years of witnessing to cults and false religions, I never sought to build common ground by beclouding the truth that there is one true God, which Scripture sufficiently reveals. And since they reject his full self-revelation of himself, they worship a false God and a false Jesus. Yes, I have seen some people get saved out of the cults, and others stopped from going into a cult by making it clear they worship a false God.
There are other places to build common ground with those with whom we witness that does not involve obscuring the revealed triune God with anyone in any sense.
 William Lane Craig, “Concept of God in Islam and Christianity,” ReasonableFaith.org https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/popular-writings/christianity-other-faiths/concept-of-god-in-islam-and-christianity/, para 8, accessed 5/10/18.
 William Lane Craig, “Concept of God in Islam and Christianity,” ReasonableFaith.org https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/popular-writings/christianity-other-faiths/concept-of-god-in-islam-and-christianity/, para 50, accessed 5/10/18.
 Azim Nanji, “Islam,” in The Religious World: Communities of Faith, ed. Robert F. Weir (New York, NY: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1982), 316.