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In comment discussion of another question, these mentions about the Qur'an were made:

The Qur'an teaches that Christ is a Prophet in Islam. In that sense I wouldn't say it's "Anti-Christian" or even heretical.

I merely made this distinction because it doesn't directly teach against Christian theology, and some Christians have a similar view to the Qur'an with respect to the divinity of Christ.

I had never before heard of Christians that see the Qur'an as compatible with Christianity. I think this has a lot to do with what doctrines a Christian holds onto. For the purpose of this question, anyone self-identifying as a Christian is a Christian.

  1. What Christian doctrines is the Qur'an incompatible with?
  2. Is the Qur'an generally compatible with Christianity? (i.e. other than being incompatible with the specific doctrines)
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Being the one quoted, I feel I should state that the comments should be taken in the context they were made in. The comments were intended to argue that the Qur'an is not a good example of a book that is heretical/blasphemous towards Christianity. Certainly there are parts of the Qur'an that say Christians should be destroyed, but the doctrines taught are not directly blasphemous. –  tjameson Sep 28 '11 at 3:10
Except that it confuses Mary, Jesus and God as the Trinity when it is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. –  RiverC Feb 3 '12 at 21:51
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7 Answers

No, it is not compatible. The Qur'an explicitly denies the divinity of Christ, which is one of the absolute bedrock tenets of the Christian faith. Without His divinity and associated sinlessness Christ's sacrifice and resurrection would carry no meaning or effect.

One additional note: I ran across this article today and I thought it would round out this answer well. In it the author explains the doctrine of the Trinity and why it matters so much. The fact that Christ was divine and one part of a triune Godhead is critical to Christianity, and as I said the Qur'an denies it outright. A great summary of the Trinity from the article:

The doctrine of the Trinity can be summarized in seven statements. (1) There is only one God. (2) The Father is God. (3) The Son is God. (4) The Holy Spirit is God. (5) The Father is not the Son. (6) The Son is the not the Holy Spirit. (7) The Holy Spirit is not the Father. All of the creedal formulations and theological jargon and philosophical apologetics have to do with safeguarding each one of these statements and doing so without denying any of the other six.

Without a Trinity there is no Christianity, therein lies the direct conflict with the Qur'an.

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If you read en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_view_of_the_Trinity and then consider whether it would be wrong to say that God is one, and internally he is three beings, similar to each of us having aspects that need intellectual, spiritual and physical food, so we have three parts, but are one being. In that case their denial of the Trinity may not be wrong. If you go with Jesus was God when he as on earth you take away from the mystery of the Incarnation, and then on the cross, did God die, or was it just Jesus that died? –  James Black Sep 28 '11 at 23:38
I suppose it depends on your definition of Christianity. There are many defensible beliefs that do not include the Trinity. I've said the same thing often lately, mostly because I don't believe that a Trinitarian view of God defines Christianity, it is merely a debated aspect of it (much like baptism). –  tjameson Sep 29 '11 at 4:17
My definition includes faiths that recognize the three great ecumenical Christian creeds -- the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. All of these explicitly endorse the Trinitarian view and reject non-Trinitariansim and have been used to define the Christian faith by all mainstream Western denominations over time. Since the time of the Arian controversies (3rd century) the churches have ruled that teachings contrary to the Trinity are heresy. That is the historical, orthodox position as I understand it. –  blundin Sep 29 '11 at 4:44
@JamesBlack I think the Qu'ran quote from another answer deals with the topic you raise. It says, "So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, 'Three'; desist - it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God." From a plain reading that is a rejection of the idea of the three persons of the Godhead while the historic Christian creeds explicitly affirm the triune nature of the Godhead. One explicitly affirms what the other explicitly rejects. I do not seem anyway to bring these two different views into alignment. –  blundin Sep 29 '11 at 5:02
@JamesBlack I don't think it matters how I see the Trinity. The Bible is clear on its trinitarian claims and all of the orthodox creeds attest to it. The Qu'ran on the other hand insists in the quote I posted it that there cannot be three persons in the Godhead. This isn't about an individual view, it's about what the two faiths say in their own texts about the other. How you or I view it does not change what the texts state. –  blundin Sep 29 '11 at 19:10
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I'll start with what Christian views I know the Qur'an explicitly denies.


Qur'an 4:171 O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, "Three"; desist - it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs.

Jesus, the son of God

Qur'an 9:30 The Jews say, "Ezra is the son of Allah "; and the Christians say, "The Messiah is the son of Allah ." That is their statement from their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved [before them]. May Allah destroy them; how are they deluded?

I can't really say anything about how the Qur'an relates to Christianity other than for these points. Feel free to edit this answer or copy content to your own answer.

Jesus died on a cross

Qur'an 4:157-158: [157] And [for] their saying, "Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah ." And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain. [158] Rather, Allah raised him to Himself. And ever is Allah Exalted in Might and Wise.

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Just a note, it is not necessary to believe in Trinitarianism to be Christian. There are plenty of Christian denominations that believe otherwise (Unitarians and Jehova's Witnesses come to mind). –  tjameson Sep 28 '11 at 3:13
@tjameson of course not, but it's a doctrine that only Christians believe--i.e. a Christian doctrine. –  dancek Sep 28 '11 at 3:15
I'm not entirely sure that is correct. See Wikipedia. Sure, Trinitarianism is very prolific in Christianity, but I would not venture to say that it is unique. –  tjameson Sep 28 '11 at 3:27
I know that this is a broad forum in terms of the backgrounds and doctrines represented so I want to be careful. Just because a denomination or church claims to be 'Christian' does not make it so. There are agreed upon fundamental beliefs that have developed across denominations and carry the force of church councils and previous agreements. If these orthodox beliefs are not upheld then the claim to Christianity is questionable. For example, the Arian controversy was dealt with centuries ago and the church has held Arian beliefs on the nature of the Trinity as heresy ever since. –  blundin Sep 28 '11 at 4:20
All - sounds like a great new question. –  Wikis Sep 28 '11 at 8:28
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  1. Big picture, very few. Small picture, a bit
  2. Generally compatible, yes

The problem is "generally" isn't good enough. I'm going to explain in pretty general terms to avoid over complicating this answer, so please don't attack me for not being precise.

Muslims and Christians both originate from Judaism, all believe in God the Father (Christian term). The difference (a major one) is the belief about Jesus. When Jesus came, Christianity split off from Judaism over the belief of whether Jesus was the Son of God or a heretic. The doctrines of the two are pretty compatible since it all has the same origin, but the disagreement about Jesus is enough to start a new religion.

Muslims split off saying Jesus was a prophet/good teacher, but not Son of God. Again, significant disagreement making it incompatible overall. Mohammed also claimed the Bible was inaccurate and retold the stories the way they "actually" happened. After his death, his followers wrote his versions down into what is now known as the Qur'an. Mostly the same stories Christians have, with mostly the same morals, but different details and different belief about Jesus. It also includes things beyond the New Testament era, which are incompatible with Christianity.

Overall, if you are a Christian you should stick with the Bible rather than trying to separate Christian truth and heresy while attempting to learn from the Qur'an

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"Muslims and Christians both originate from Judaism, all believe in the same God." I hope I am not picking on too fine a point here, but I would argue pretty strongly that we do not believe in the "same" God. The Qu'ran makes contradictory claims to the Bible in reference to the Godhead. It's not simply about Christ's divinity, we have different conception of God. Christian believe in a triune Godhead and the Qu'ran denies this explicitly. This is such a fundamental characteristic of God that I would argue changes 'which' God we are talking about. –  blundin Sep 28 '11 at 17:19
@blundin as I said, I was trying to keep it simple. I explained that the difference of belief of Jesus is significant enough to create a new religion (twice). I completely understand your stance and believe it is just a different choice of wording. I guess I could have said "same God the Father" but I don't know if Jews or Muslims would accept that term. –  CameronW Sep 28 '11 at 17:28
Fair point, and I do agree with the overall point of your answer. However I feel like for someone not familiar with all the details removing that point in simplifying the answer (which is a good thing on here) can cause confusion on a very important fundamental belief. I think there can be some significant negative consequences if someone approaches either text with the basic idea that we worship the same God. –  blundin Sep 28 '11 at 17:40
I don't think I removed the point, but to avoid confusion I changed the wording –  CameronW Sep 28 '11 at 18:25
+1 There are some points here that aren't entirely correct as stated, but the overall point is. Some things I think could be better phrased- 1) Islam belief breaks from Judaism as early as Abraham, 2) The point about things 'post-Jesus' could be misunderstood to mean that revelations received after His death are invalid (for example, nearly all of the New Testament), 3) Some Christian denominations teach that Christ was just a 'good teacher' –  tjameson Sep 29 '11 at 4:26
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In case of Islam and Koran, everything that Christianity stands for, is contradicted by Muhammad in Koran. Unlike the content of scriptures of other religions, Koran redefines the events and facts from Bible almost directly on one-to-one basis. Moreover, the reasons for these contradictions are pretty clear.

For Christians, Jesus is the Messiah, the one who by his reconciling death provided atonement for mankind. Koran says Jesus didn't die but was just a prophet and there was no atonement.

About heaven, Muhammad redefined heaven using five passages of the Koran as something like an enormous bordello in the sky.

Heaven is redefined. The work of Jesus on earth is redefined. Even the very nature of God is recast by Muhammad. So whatever Bible teaches as its core message, has already been changed by Muhammad.

There are many verses, to incite Muslims to violence against various kinds of non-Muslims which again directly contradicts message given by Jesus about loving our neighbor to the extent of praying and loving our enemies.

True such verses are found in OT also, but that was a different age and era altogether. In the late Bronze Age, in the time of Moses, Joshua, and right up until King David, human societies apparently had not developed to the point that you could separate a spiritual, religious leadership on one hand from a secular, political leadership on the other. The change was ordained by God in NT, because human societies had developed to a point where the change could be instituted. Yet we see Muhammad has taken it back by several centuries.

When King David said, "I want to build the temple," God said, "No. You will not build my house. You have much blood on your hands. You have fought many wars in my sight. Your son Solomon is a man of peace. He will build my house."

Now the reasons for these contradictions:

It happened because Muhammad had limited knowledge of the Old Testament and even less of the New Testament. But he was pretending that he had complete knowledge. So he kept getting the stories wrong. In the Koran, Muhammad tells the story of Moses' confrontation with Pharaoh, the Exodus story, 27 times in 89 chapters. There's not one mention of the Passover. He told the story of Gideon's, only it wasn't Gideon, it was King Saul.

Koran places the Samaritans at the time of Moses when such people had not existed at that time.

Another contradiction is claiming Mary, mother of Jesus same as Miriam, sister of Aaron and Moses. These two women lived 1500 years apart. The Koran says.

She brought (the babe) to her people, carrying him (in her arms), They said: “O Mary! Truly a strange thing has thou brought! “O sister of Aaron, thy father was not a man of evil, nor your mother a woman unchaste!” Q. 19:27-28

This is repeated in verse 66:12 where Muhammad calls Mary, daughter of `Imran.

Now, it was not until about 200 years after his death that Muslim leaders learned Latin. Some of them learned Greek. They could read the Vulgate Latin Bible or the Greek New Testament, and they began to see that there was a Passover in the Exodus story and thier prophet didn't mention it. So they had to either admit that he was mistaken, he didn't really know what he was talking about, or the option was to blame the Jews for having tampered with the Scriptures, so that God had to use Muhammad to restore the Old Testament to its original form.

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St. Thomas Acquinas (today-28th Jan is his feast day) in his own words gives us a clear contrast as to why one cannot equate Christianity and Islam:

This wonderful conversion of the world to the Christian faith is the clearest witness of the signs given in the past; so that it is not necessary that they should be further repeated, since they appear most clearly in their effect. For it would be truly more wonderful than all signs if the world had been led by simple and humble men to believe such lofty truths, to accomplish such difficult actions, and to have such high hopes. Yet it is also a fact that, even in our own time, God does not cease to work miracles through His saints for the confirmation of the faith.

Thomas points out that given the humble roots of Christianity, it would be more miraculous for the religion to have spread without miracles than with them.  The miracles of Jesus and his apostles provide a reason for the initial spread of Christianity.

Thomas then goes on to differentiate the success of Christianity with the success of Islam.  He argues that Muhammad offered no miracles to prove he was from God, and that his sole appeal was based on the carnal pleasures he offered his followers, including military power. 

Here again is St. Thomas:

On the other hand, those who founded sects committed to erroneous doctrines proceeded in a way that is opposite to this, The point is clear in the case of Muhammad. He seduced the people by promises of carnal pleasure to which the concupiscence of the flesh goads us. His teaching also contained precepts that were in conformity with his promises, and he gave free rein to carnal pleasure. In all this, as is not unexpected, he was obeyed by carnal men. As for proofs of the truth of his doctrine, he brought forward only such as could be grasped by the natural ability of anyone with a very modest wisdom. Indeed, the truths that he taught he mingled with many fables and with doctrines of the greatest falsity. He did not bring forth any signs produced in a supernatural way, which alone fittingly gives witness to divine inspiration; for a visible action that can be only divine reveals an invisibly inspired teacher of truth.

On the contrary, Muhammad said that he was sent in the power of his arms—which are signs not lacking even to robbers and tyrants. What is more, no wise men, men trained in things divine and human, believed in him from the beginning, Those who believed in him were brutal men and desert wanderers, utterly ignorant of all divine teaching, through whose numbers Muhammad forced others to become his followers by the violence of his arms.

Thomas makes some important distinctions between Islam and Christianity based on their respective beginnings.

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I think that Qur'an contains internal contradictions. It and Islam rejects that key figure of Christianity was crucified and it denys His divinity and trinitarian doctrine.

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Blessed is he who can keep one's answer within 100 words. I mean that if you have gift to express ideas with clarity and effectiveness, one can scrutinize easier way one's words and thus maybe not be provoked by long sentences and by the impolitical phrases. The problem with this incompatibility is that I sense this familiarity and security is threatened by such a claims against trinitarian doctrine and divinity of Christ by Qur'an. –  laovultai yesterday
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Short answer.

Islam considers Jesus a prophet just like Moses, Abraham, and Noah.

From Wikipedia:

Muslims deny the Christian doctrine of the Trinity and divinity of Jesus, comparing it to polytheism.

Although Musilms see Jesus as the Messiah, son of Virgin Mary.

(3:45) Surat 'Āli `Imrān (Family of Imran) - سورة آل عمران

[And mention] when the angels said, “O Mary, indeed Allah gives you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary - distinguished in this world and the Hereafter and among those brought near [to Allah]”.


Qur’an is +90% the same as the Christian Bible in many aspects, but they cannot be compatible, because Christianity bases its faith and believes in the divinity of Christ, while the Qur'an does not.

You can read similarities and differences in http://www.dianedew.com/islam.htm.

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Welcome to Christianity.SE! This is an interesting answer, but would garner many more votes if you had references to backup these claims. (Showing where Islam & Christianity line up or where the Quran denies the deity of Christ, for example, would greatly improve this answer). –  Affable Geek Jan 31 '12 at 13:24
@AffableGeek Thanks for the tip. Links and quotes added. –  pferor Feb 3 '12 at 21:43
Except you neglect to mention that Muḥammad believed that Miryam ("Mary"), whom Jesus is a son of, was the daughter of ʿImrān (known as Amram in the Tanakh) (Sūratu Āli ʿImrān, 35-36, 45). The Tanakh, on the other hand, states that Amram was the father of Moshe, Aharon, and Miryam (Num. 26:59), all who lived perhaps 1300 years earlier than Jesus. You see, Muḥammad confounded Moshe's sister Miryam with Jesus' mother Miryam ("Mary") in the NT. This is only one of many contradictions that demonstrates the ignorance of Muḥammad. –  H3br3wHamm3r81 Jan 28 at 4:23
I would venture to say that the Quran is not even close to 90% compatible with Biblical teaching. –  Lawrence Dol Jan 28 at 4:35
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