Understanding Islam and How to Pray for the Muslim World
It can be said that the Trinity is a stumbling block to most Muslims, but why is this? A reason could be one of the most important doctrines in Islam—the tawhid, which means the oneness of God. To a Muslim, Followers of Christ are polytheistic—believe in or worship more than one god—because they see them believing and worshipping three Gods, the Father, Son, and incorrectly, Mary, the mother of Jesus. As Christ Followers, it is necessary for us to reach out and show Muslims the love of the Father as a part of the Trinity. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the nature of God can be explained through the Trinity, which helps develop the relationship that Muslims long for, which Allah cannot and does not provide.
Another challenge Muslims have with Christianity is the issue of Fatherhood as the Quran clearly states that God does not have a son. In Islam, to say that Allah has a son commits the ultimate sin—shirk. Allah is one and has no son. Therefore, the whole concept of the Sonship of Christ and God the Father is foreign and forbidden to a Muslim; however, this is the essence of the Trinity. The Trinity breeds relationship. In the story of Abraham in the Old Testament, God came to Hagar and Ishmael when they were banished by Abraham and Sarah. As most know, Arabs are descendants of Ishmael. Even though Ishmael was not the promised son, the God of the Bible showed love, compassion, and relationship to him. Yet, on the other hand, the god of Islam is cold and distant, not having relationship with his followers.The Quran’s view of Allah’s relationship with Muslims is as Abd to Rabb—slave to Master. Allah hears all things, but is never there (Surah 34:50). Allah is near, but cannot be seen (Surah 56:85). As a result, the Muslim god is beyond all the struggles of humanity and is an unreachable god. However, the God of the Bible not only hears our prayers, but listens and acts. Since He relates to humanity, God is not foreign to pain and suffering as Jesus was heavily bruised and scarred before dying on the cross.
On the other hand, Allah does not and cannot relate to humanity by nature of his character. Muslims do not see God as their father or equivalently themselves as his children. As a result, Muslims are only servants of a just master and cannot obtain any greater degree of intimacy with their creator. Yet, Jesus can and does relate.In Allah’s 99 names, not one is relational or intimate. Allah is a god of scales—a cruel judge who hates the sinner. And Allah changes his affections, plays tricks, lies, and is temperamental. Therefore, the Islamic view of god denies emotion with Allah and four important factors—revelation of god, intimacy with god, the suffering of god, and the love of god. As a result, many Muslims tend to not have internal peace and fulfillment in their religion and god. They are lacking a relationship with him, which results in an emptiness that needs to be filled. Simply put, there is no assurance of going to paradise (heaven) in Islam. Jesus Christ is the only One who can fill that emptiness.
To help us as Followers of Christ engage with our Muslim friends, some questions we can ask include What is God like?, How does he relate?, Is he a god of purpose?, and Is he a god of forgiveness? The revelation of God through Christ Followers by the Holy Spirit, in words and actions, can be powerful tools to set Muslims on a path to Jesus, their loving Lord and Savior. The God of the Bible is waiting to have a relationship with them.
How to pray
Ask God to give you insight into how to be a 'question asker' with Muslims who He brings into your life. Seek to listen, not to teach ‘Christianity.’ Muslims need revelation-understanding from God to overcome these hurdles in their thinking. So ask God to help you to ask the right questions that will stimulate them to seek the truth and encounter revelation of God through the Holy Spirit.