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The "prophet" Muhammad stated that the angel Gabriel visited him with revelation and he put great importance upon Gabriel.

So my question is, where do Christians believe Muhammad's revelation came from and what Christians believe about Muhammad's claim about his revelations from Gabriel? Do they believe that he lied and made it up, or do they believe it was a demon rather than Gabriel who visited Muhammad?

The question is seeking answers based on doctrinal and official views of any Christian denominations.

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closed as too broad by Flimzy, Narnian, David Stratton Aug 28 at 1:55

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
Unfortunately I have to take issue with this question. This isn't a question about Christianity. It is a question about those who practice Christianity - which is not a unified group with single representation. In a similar regard, if you ask a question on Islam.SE about Muslims, it will be off topic as it is not a question about the faith but those who apply it. Such as, "Why do some Muslims use the moon and star" - my question was NOT an Islamic question but a Muslim question –  The Freemason Aug 26 at 13:52
    
    
From a dude who made it up, the used it to take over the known world, and nearly succeeded, by the way. Is there any other possible answer? There might be a few wishy-washy churches that take the name Christian and also regard the Quran with some esteem, but I don't know of any. –  fredsbend Aug 26 at 21:50
    
Which Christians? There's no universal "Christian" belief about Islam, or it's history. –  Flimzy Aug 27 at 11:52
    
I believe davidbrainerd's answer can be supported from Koran | New Advent (see: Sources) and my answer is extremely well-supported (Catholic/Christian creed; Scripture; 2 Popes, Catholic saints and authors, etc.). Not my question, so let eliyah fight for his question. –  FMS Aug 28 at 7:39

4 Answers 4

The "prophet" Muhammad stated that the angel Gabriel visited him with revelation and he put great importance upon Gabriel.

This is not true. Not if you are talking about the Koran, which never says this. This information comes from the Hadiths. If you were to base your understanding of Mohammed purely on his writings (i.e. the Koran) and not on the hearsay stories of later Muslim tradition, you would not come to the conclusion that Mohammed said anything about Gabriel.

The way Mohammed presents it in the Koran, it sounds like he's claiming Allah himself is speaking to him. There is no specific mention of Gabriel doing anything with revelation, other than in Sura 2:97-98 which is easy to miss. In fact, Michael is mentioned in the same context. Nowhere in the Koran does Mohammed specifically claim that any of his "revelation" comes from Gabriel. This specific place seems to be making Gabriel "confirm" the message (similarly to the Holy Spirit in Christianity) and that anyone who rejects revelation is an enemy of Gabriel and Michael and all the angels.

In point of fact, Sura 2:98 doesn't even specifically call Gabriel and Michael angels, but may even intend them to be human messengers, for it says "Whoever is the enemy of Allah and His angels and His messengers and Jibreel and Meekaeel, so surely Allah is the enemy of the unbelievers." It could even be taken that Gabriel and Michael are being placed in a third category all their own, and not among the angels nor the messengers. This would not be surprising considering the very low state of Mohammed's biblical knowledge (to be discussed below).

A reading of Mohammed's book (i.e. the Koran) will show that he pieced his "revelation" together from Bible stories that he heard taught (he obviously didn't read the Bible) and from stories and legends taken from the Talmud which he heard (e.g. the angels being commanded to worship Adam) and from Pagan stories which he heard (e.g. "God's own she-camel").

That he did not receive his information from any angel nor from actually reading the Bible is clear from how he mangles Bible stories, like getting Haman from the book of Esther into the story of Moses, and making Haman the builder of the tower of Babel, in Moses' day, by having Pharaoh say to Haman "Build me a tower so I can climb to heaven and see Moses' God." (Koran, in Sura 28:38 and Sura 40:36-37)

The Koran also confuses Mary the mother of Jesus with Miriam the sister of Moses, explicitly calling Mary "the daughter of Amram" (or Imram) and "sister of Aaron" several times. Its pretty clear that Mohammed has no sense of chronology, and thinks that Jesus was Moses' nephew and received the Injeel (Gospel) not long after Moses received the Tavrat (Torah), perhaps only a decade or so later.

This kind of mixing up of various biblical stories into one can only occur as a result of being illiterate, of not having read the Bible, and of accidentally mixing up stories you heard in your head. It would be hard to completely lack a sense of chronology if you had actually read the Bible. Surely nobody would mix up stories this badly on purpose. And surely no angel would be malevolent enough to play a dirty trick like this on anyone, or at least Gabriel would not.

Edit: In response to comments citing particular verses of the Koran which supposedly give Gabriel a more prominent place than I've suggested above. We must remember that the Koran is not like the Bible. You can't just translate the Koran with a formal-equivalence type translational methodology, because it will come out as ungrammatical jibberish. Muslims admit as much by teaching that "the Koran in untranslatable" and therefore they claim that to really read the Koran you must read it in Arabic. Contrary to this, the KJV translators write in their preface that even the "meanest" (i.e. roughest) translation of the Bible is still the word of God. The reason is we don't have to supplement a bunch of tradition and stuff from other sources to even end up with a grammatical sentence when translating the Bible. But with the Koran, you pretty much do. So without Islamic tradition and all the details that it adds about Gabriel and so on, it would be very hard to produce a translation of the Koran that's even barely readable. If you were, however, to attempt to wade through a literal, formal-equivalence, translation of the Koran, you would find all this stuff about Gabriel and several other things to be missing. This is another proof, in my estimation, that the Koran does not come from any kind of supernatural source, neither from God or any angel, nor from Satan or any demon, but merely from the mind of a man.

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indeed, thanks great answer brother. I only took in the hole Gabriel concept because I was given a Quran for free and at the begining of the Quran it mentioned how Gabriel visited him and how afterwards he fell down exhausted and his wife ( if im not mistaken) tended to him when she found him. Also upon the basis that many muslims have told me that they refer to Gabriel as the holy spirit contrary to the Christian concept of the holy spirit. –  eliyah Aug 23 at 22:12
    
so in conclusion you believe that it was not from a demon but instead it was conjured up in his mind from a shaky memory? so wouldnt that make him a liar for claiming to be a prophet? –  eliyah Aug 23 at 22:17
    
@eliyah, More or less. I think he had psychological experiences that convinced him he was a prophet, and he combined these feelings with a shaky knowledge of Christianity and Judaism and a few stories from some Pagan monotheists. –  david brainerd Aug 23 at 22:26
    
@ david brainerd, ok I see, makes sense, he possibly thought that he was a prophet and that he was doing right, wow entire empires with this as a foundation ( shaking my head). –  eliyah Aug 23 at 22:31
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There is no specific mention of Gabriel doing anything with revelation Not true as S. 2:97 has: Say, "Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel - it is [none but] he who has brought the Qur'an down upon your heart, [O Muhammad], by permission of Allah , confirming that which was before it and as guidance and good tidings for the believers." cf. S. 2:97-98 –  FMS Aug 24 at 1:14

Answering

If the Christian Revelation and the revelation of Islam are both from God, then there is a problem.
(see below)


"[I]t is proper to the devil to mix falsehood with truth[.]" - in Catena Aurea | St. John Chrysostom


Compare the Islamic and [the beginning of] the Christian creeds:

The Shahada [The Islamic creed]: لَاإِلٰهَإِلَّااللهمُحَمَّدٌرَسُولُالله | lā ʾilāha ʾil ʾāllāh, muḥammadun rasūlu-llāh | “There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of Allah [God].”

vs.

Jn 17:3: And eternal life is this: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. [I believe in God, the Father almighty creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our LORD, [...] | The Apostles’ Creed]

The two creeds [key word in definition: core] are irreconcilable; therefore both religions cannot be true.

If one of them is the true Faith, the other is a corruption of it and therefore not true.


It is hardly surprising, then, that throughout history the adversary establishes false religions, sects, and cults in which he masquerades as God. Frequently, these cults spring forth from the bosom of real religion; consider the recent instance[s] of David Koresh and his Waco cult, [...] which pretended to be Christian and made continual reference to the Bible.

Of all the major religions of the world, only Islam arose after God's full revelation of Himself to man in His incarnation in the person of Jesus Christ. Thus all of the other major religions are either fully true (Christianity); fully true up to the time of their origin, but lacking the later revelation (Judaism); or based on the incomplete revelations available to mankind before God chose to make Himself truly known. Only Islam's revelation came after Christ, aware of Christianity yet contradicting it. Hence one must ask what the source of the revelation was-was it of human or of supernatural origin? If of supernatural origin, did it come from God or from fallen spirits? It is difficult for a Christian to consider the source of the revelation to be God, given its contradictions with Christian revelation. - Excerpt from Salvation is from the Jews | Roy Schoeman, a Jew who has come to the fullness of his faith in the Catholic Church.


Further reading:

“There is also the superstition of the Ishmaelites which to this day prevails and keeps people in error, being a forerunner of the Antichrist…. From that time to the present a false prophet named Mohammed has appeared in their midst. This man, after having chanced upon the Old and New Testaments and likewise, it seems, having conversed with an Arian monk, devised his own heresy. Then, having insinuated himself into the good graces of the people by a show of seeming piety, he gave out that a certain book had been sent down to him from heaven. He had set down some ridiculous compositions in this book of his and he gave it to them as an object of veneration.”

-St. John Damascene (d. 749), Syrian Arab Catholic monk and scholar. Quoted from his book On Heresies under the section On the Heresy of the Ishmaelites (in The Fathers of the Church. Vol. 37. Translated by the Catholic University of America. CUA Press. 1958. Pages 153-160.)


On the nature of Muhammad's prophetic experience

The best proof of the reality of Mohammed's belief in the reality of the revelation, and of the completeness of his sincerity, is that he fell at the first into a state of doubt concerning it. (Gairdner, The Reproach of Islam, p. 46).

This openly-expressed doubt about the source of the revelations strengthens all the more the suggestion that Muhammad really did see these two visions which took him somewhat by surprise. Nevertheless it is very interesting to find that Muhammad initially believed that these manifestations were probably demonic.

Therefore Muhammad really did see something. What is it then that he saw? That's the question.

2. The Exoteric Character of the Revelations.

Although the visions ceased, it is recorded that the revelations of Qur'anic passages were invariably attested by outward, physical phenomena. Ayishah reported:

Verily, al-Harith Ibn Hisham said: O Apostle of Allah! how does revelation dawn upon you? The Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, said: Sometimes it dawns upon me in the form of the ringing of a bell, and that is very hard on me; (ultimately) it ceases and I remember what is said. Sometimes the angel appears to me and speaks and I recollect what he says. Ayishah said: I witnessed the revelation dawning upon him on an extremely cold day; when it ceased, I noticed that his forehead was perspiring. (Ibn Sa'd, Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, Vol. 1, p. 228).

The other major traditions all say that the angel, when it appeared to Muhammad, did so in human form, though in the Qur'an we have already seen how strongly Muhammad claimed to have seen the angel only on the two specific occasions it mentions and the testimony of the Qur'an is more reliable than that of the Hadith. Another tradition says:

Ubada b. Samit reported that when wahi descended upon Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him), he felt a burden on that account and the colour of his face underwent a change. (Sahih Muslim, Vol. 4, p. 1248).

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so would you say its from fallen angels/ demons? –  eliyah Aug 24 at 0:51
    
@eliyah Affirmative, and thank you for continuing to ask great questions! –  FMS Aug 24 at 0:55
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"There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of Allah" - is actually understood as "There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the [LAST] messenger of Allah" as Jesus is also a messenger in Islam (and born of a virgin, and a healer, and rose into heaven) –  The Freemason Aug 26 at 13:46
    
@TheFreemason The creeds are compared from how they are recited and not how they are understood. Even with the understanding you present, one is still left with the Christian side that does not accept Muhammad as the messenger of God, let alone his last messenger. –  FMS Aug 29 at 3:35
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@FMShyanguya agreed and why would Christianity since Islam came after Christianity started. It's like saying, "why doesn't the bible talk about the internet?" –  The Freemason Aug 29 at 12:25

As David points out, the Qur'an itself doesn't testify that Muhammad received his revelation from Gabriel. In fact, when Muhammad first received his 'revelation', he believed he was possessed, and attempted to hurl himself off a cliff (Ibn Ishaq, p. 106). It wasn't until talking with his wife Khadija that she gave him the idea he wasn't possessed but was a prophet.

I'd like to mention one other incident, Muhammad himself claimed at least one of his revelation came from Satan;

While Muhammad was in Mecca, his followers were few, his movement grew painfully slowly and he, too, felt the pain of estrangement from his tribe. According to early and treasured biographical and historical accounts of Muhammad, authored by competent Muslim scholars (such as writings of at-Tabari and Ibn Sa’d), Muhammad longed for better relations and reconciliation with his community. Thereafter, the accounts continue, God revealed Surah 53 to Muhammad up to and including vss. 19, 20. These two verses read:

Have ye thought upon al-Lat and al-Uzza And Manat, the third, the other? (53:19,20)

Then, originally, the verses (known today as the satanic verses) followed:

These are the exalted cranes (intermediaries) Whose intercession is to be hoped for.

The cranes whose intercession was recognized were, of course, the three deities. The same accounts tell us that after this revelation was completed, Muhammad, his followers and the pagan Arabs all prostrated. Tensions eased, reconciliation was at hand, and all were delighted.

But Muhammad soon retracted the reconciliation—how soon is not clear. For the account continues that Jibril (Gabriel), the angel of revelation, informed Muhammad that Satan had used Muhammad's desire for reconciliation with the pagan leaders to insert into the revelation of God the verses about the interceding cranes, otherwise called "the satanic verses".

To summarize, Muhammad originally believed he was demon-possessed and attempted suicide, later Muhammad gives a revelation promoting polytheism, then retracts it claiming Satan gave him the revelation.

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This is a good description of where Muhammad believed his revelations came from; but it doesn't seem to answer the question of where Christians believe it came from. –  Matt Gutting Aug 24 at 18:47
    
wow great answer my friend! jaw dropping infact, your answer was very rewarding and praise worthy, bless you child of God, thanks again for that answer. –  eliyah Aug 24 at 18:57
    
As David points out, the Qur'an itself doesn't testify that Muhammad received his revelation from Gabriel. Not true, davidbrainerd has edited his answer. –  FMS Aug 24 at 23:13
    
I agree with Matt, this doesn't answer the question or extend David's answer so that it does answer the question. –  The Freemason Aug 26 at 13:57

Compassionate Christians (not pushy nonconfrontational) do not so care as to the actual or factual origins of the Muslim faith. (isaiah 44:8) It is inconsequential to your or our salvation for we only search the depths of Christ and only for anthropological reasons do we read your faiths sacred texts. (Titus 1:12)

We obviously do not think it came from our God (we have long since as a whole been non inclusive and segregative, John 14:6 and Rom 12:2) but we are not going to convince you of Christ's validity by disproving what you already believe that's just not how Christ works. (1 Cor 2:4) Coming to Christ is spiritual not intellectual. (John 3:5)

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Who is "We" and what is the support for your assertions? Also "... from our God.." is confrontational - don't they believe in the God of Abraham? meta.christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/692/… –  The Freemason Aug 26 at 14:11
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This answer would be a lot better if you could add references showing that this is a common understanding, and who teaches/believes it. On this site, we're not looking for personal interpretation, but rather focusing on what various Christian groups teach. See How we are different than other sites? and What makes a good supported answer? –  David Stratton Aug 26 at 15:00
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Understood. It's better with the Scripture references, but I still don't see a reference to (in David Stratton's words) "who teaches/believes it". Is this a common understanding among Christians? How can you demonstrate that? –  Matt Gutting Aug 26 at 15:12
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hey friend I appreciate your answer but I am Christian and was just curious if there were any concrete denominational stance upon this question, not just a answer stating that "we" dont believe in Islam, "we" already know that its not for "us". –  eliyah Aug 27 at 2:19
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Sure is political correctness in here. I agree 100% with your answer @caseyr547. –  Klutch Aug 28 at 10:50

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