Islamic Theology and Monotheism

QUESTION: Islamic Theology and Monotheism


Muslims believe that God exists, that He created the world, and that all humans will one day give an account before Him at the judgment. On these basics (though not in all details), the three monotheistic religions of the world—Judaism, Christianity and Islam—agree. The 112th Sura (chapter) of the Qur’an, though only four verses long, summarizes the Islamic understanding of the unity and nature of God: “In the name of God, the Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Say: He is God, the One and Only; God, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; and there is none like unto Him.”1

Though God has ninety-nine names in the Qur’an (see 59:22–24 for some examples), every Muslim affirms monotheism. It is encased in their fundamental creed: “There is no God but God and Muhammad is his prophet.”

Islamic Theology – Creator God
Muslims affirm that God created the universe. The Qur’an often appeals to the grandeur and order of the world as evidence of God’s existence and His creative intelligence, but the Qur’an itself is held as the most important proof of God’s existence. Sura 2:22–23 not only attributes the multiplicity of good things throughout creation to God’s creative power, but challenges anyone who doubts the Qur’an to produce something comparable. “Who has made the earth your couch, and the heavens your canopy; and sent down rain from the heavens; and brought forth therewith fruits for your sustenance; then set not up rivals unto God when ye know (the truth). And if ye are in doubt as to what We have revealed from time to time to Our servant [Muhammad], then produce a Sura like thereunto; and call your witnesses or helpers (if there are any) besides God, if your (doubts) are true.”

Muslims firmly believe that the Qur’an is the best and most beautiful book on earth. There is no equal, and nothing surpasses it in content or quality.2

Islamic Theology – The Original Faith
Muslims believe that theirs is the original faith, the faith of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, John the Baptist, and Jesus. They also believe that Christians have distorted and denied that original faith, especially in relation to the doctrine of the Trinity. The Qur’an denounces the Trinity in no uncertain terms:
    O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion; nor say of God aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) an Apostle of God, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a Spirit proceeding from Him; so believe in God and His apostles. Say not “Trinity”; desist: for God is One God: Glory be to Him: (far Exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is God as a Disposer of affairs. (4:171)

    They do blaspheme who say, “God is Christ the son of Mary.” But said Christ, “O Children of Israel! Worship God, my Lord and your Lord.” Whoever joins other gods with God, God will forbid him the Garden, and the Fire will be his abode. There will for the wrong-doers be no one to help. They do blaspheme who say “God is one of three in a Trinity,” for there is no god except One God. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them. (5:75–76)

    And behold! God will say, “O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, ‘Worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of God’?” He will say, “Glory to Thee! Never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, Thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart, though I know not what is in Thine, for Thou knowest in full all that is hidden. (5:119)
Muslims also deny that Jesus was crucified. Sura 4 in the Qur’an (vv. 157–158) says the following: “They that said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Apostle of God”; but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for a surety they killed him not: nay, God raised him up unto Himself; and God is Exalted in Power, Wise...”


Rendered with permission from the book, Understanding the Times: The Collision of Today’s Competing Worldviews (Rev. 2nd ed), David Noebel, Summit Press, 2006. Compliments of John Stonestreet, David Noebel, and the Christian Worldview Ministry at Summit Ministries. All rights reserved in the original.

1 We have updated punctuation and decreased the frequency of capital letters. Different versions of the Qur’an vary not only in translation but also in versification. Thus the chapters and verses we use, from Ali’s translation, may differ somewhat from other versions.

2 These assertions are addressed in some detail in Norman L. Geisler and Abdul Saleeb’s book, Answering Islam: The Crescent in Light of the Cross, rev. ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 2002). See chapter 9, “An Evaluation of the Qur’an,” 183–210.

Islamic Theology - Learn More!

WHAT DO YOU THINK? - We have all sinned and deserve God's judgment. God, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him. Jesus, the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He died for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was buried, and rose from the dead according to the Bible. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your Savior, declaring, "Jesus is Lord," you will be saved from judgment and spend eternity with God in heaven.

What is your response?

Yes, today I am deciding to follow Jesus

Yes, I am already a follower of Jesus

I still have questions