Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Confusion in Islam

Which Gabriel do you trust?

Dallas Roark, Ph.D.

The New Testament gives some facts about Jesus from the angel Gabriel, but the Qur’an gives contradictory facts about Jesus allegedly also from Gabriel. Who is right?  Why do they contradict the first revelation?  The New Testament declares that “God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” (1 Cor. 14:33)

The Muslim story of Mohammed’s encounter with Gabriel is a source of confusion.

Ibn  Ishaq wrote that Gabriel appeared to Mohammed while he was asleep.   He  told Mohammed to read. Mohammed replied, “What shall I read?”   There was a coverlet of brocade whereon was some writing, and [Gabriel] said: “Read!”   He pressed me with it so tightly that I thought it was death; then he let me go and said, “Read”  I said, “what shall I read?”  He pressed me the third time so that I thought it was death and said,  “Read”   I said ,  “what then shall I read?”  and this I said only to deliver myself from him, lest he should do the same to me again.  He said:

“Read in the name of thy Lord who created, who created man of blood coagulated.  Read!  Thy Lord is the most beneficent who taught by the pen, taught that which they knew not unto men.”    (The Life of Mohammed, p106)

Mohammed felt he was going crazy and contemplated suicide.  He was comforted by Waraqa, a cousin of his wife.  Waraqa had become a Christian and the claim is made that he knew the Torah and the Gospels.  Waraqa replied that Gabriel (the greatest Namus) had come to Moses and now to Mohammed and Mohammed was to be the prophet of this people. (107)


One wonders how little Waraqa knew about the Torah and the Gospels.   Had he known the words of Moses he could not make such a claim for Mohammed’s experience. Gabriel does not appear until centuries later in the book of Daniel.   If he had known the gospels in which Jesus is presented as the Son of God, God’s highest revelation of Himself, how could he have thought Mohammed to be a prophet.  In the account relating to Moses there is nothing said about Gabriel.  An unnamed angel appears first, but it is Yahweh Himself who speaks to Moses.

There are no prophecies in the New Testament for anyone to come later than Jesus because He is the Son of God, God Incarnate.  If God sent his Son who is the highest being, why should he send a lowly prophet like Mohammed after that?  One may also wonder if Waraqa really existed since the earliest documents about Mohammed appear about two hundred years after he was supposed to have existed.

One must quickly raise suspicion about the Muslim Gabriel since he said that man was “created of blood coagulated.”   Where did the blood come from?  The story in Genesis says, “God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”  (Genesis 2:7)

Before this there was no blood coagulated.   This Gabriel should have known that.

The biblical stories involving Gabriel

The attitude of Gabriel in the experience claims of Mohammed are in great contrast to the story of Gabriel in the Old and New Testaments.There are two references in the Old Testament and they are as follows:

Daniel 8:15-19 “Daniel wrote: I was trying to figure out the meaning of the vision, when someone suddenly appeared there beside me.   And from beside the Ulai River, a voice like that of a human said, "Gabriel, help him understand the vision." Gabriel came over, and I fell to the ground in fear. Then he said, "You are merely a human, but you need to understand that this vision is about the end of time." While he was speaking, I  fell face down in a deep sleep. But he lifted me to my feet  and said: Listen, and I will tell  you what will happen at the end of time, when God has chosen to show his anger.”

Dan 9:21-23  “…when Gabriel suddenly came flying in at the time of the evening sacrifice. This was the same Gabriel I had seen in my vision,  and he explained: Daniel, I am here to help you understand the vision.  God thinks highly of you, and at the very moment you started praying, I was sent to give you the answer.”

In these two passages Gabriel appears friendly and helpful, not forceful or violent.  Daniel is exhausted and Gabriel touches him and helps him to sit upright.   The purpose of the experience was for Daniel to know about the future and what was going to happen.   Gabriel is not threatening nor violent, unlike the Muslim Gabriel.

In the New Testament we have two occurrences relating to Gabriel.

“And an angel of the Lord appeared to him as he was standing on the right  of the altar of incense.  And seeing this, Zacharias was troubled, and fear fell on him.  But the angel said to him, Do not fear, Zacharias. For your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.  And you shall have joy and gladness, and many shall rejoice at his birth.  For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall  neither drink wine nor strong drink. And he shall be filled with the Holy  Spirit, even from his mother's womb.   And he shall turn many of the sons  of Israel to the Lord their God. And he shall go before Him in the spirit and power  of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the  wisdom of  the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.  And Zacharias  said to the angel, By what shall I know this? For I am old, and my wife is  advanced in her days.  And answering, the angel said to him, I am Gabriel,  who stands before God. And I am sent to speak to you and to show you  these glad tidings.  And behold, you shall be silent and not able to speak  until the day that these things shall be performed, because you did not  believe my words which shall be fulfilled in their time.”  (Luke 1:1-20)

In this account Zacharias was given good news  relating to his old age  and childless marriage—his wife in her old age was going to have a  baby who would be John, the Baptist.   Zacharias did not believe the message.  Gabriel told him that he would see the event come true but not be able to speak until the birth of the child.    Muslims have tried to link the Holy Spirit with Mohammed especially in the gospel of John.   But here Gabriel declares that the baby of Zacharias and Elizabeth from his mother’s womb would be filled with the Holy Spirit. Obviously, the Holy Spirit has no connection at all with Mohammed. Moreover, there are additional comments about the Holy Spirit in regard to Zacharias.  Luke 1:41 tells of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth:  “When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting,  her baby moved within her. The Holy Spirit came upon Elizabeth.”  Luke 1:67-68 describes Zacharias: “The Holy Spirit came upon Zacharias, and he began to speak: “ Praise the Lord, the God of Israel! He has come to save his people.”

The last verse of the chapter relates to John: “As John grew up, God's Spirit gave him great power.” (Luke 1:80)

The last verse points up one of the many contrasts between the Bible story and the Holy Spirit in contrast to the Muslim claim that Mohammed was  the promised holy spirit.     Many of the characters in the New Testament  were empowered by the Holy Spirit and they did great things.  People  responded to the message of the Gospel because the Holy Spirit  convicted  them of sin  and the need for repentance.  The Holy Spirit is in no way  related to Mohammed’s  call to be prophet, and  as a result Mohammed  resorted to  violence and war to subdue people to submission.  He also  found it  profitable to conquer people and force them to pay for the  experience of  being ruled by him.  He claimed special privileges in sexual  liberties which are contrary to the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God is in no  way connected to Mohammed.  

The letter of Paul to the Galatians describes the result of the Spirit in the believer’s life.     “… the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,  goodness, faithfulness,   humility, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)  There is no way jihad against unbelievers can be defended. None of these  descriptions relate to the life and actions of Mohammed.

The second account relates the story of Gabriel appearing to Mary.

 “One month later God sent the angel Gabriel to the town of Nazareth in Galilee  with a message for a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to Joseph from the family of King David.  The angel greeted Mary and said,  "You are truly blessed! The Lord is with you." Mary was confused by the  angel's words and wondered what they meant.  Then the angel told Mary, "Don't be afraid! God is pleased with you,  and you will have a son. His  name will be Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of God Most  High. The Lord God will make him king, as his ancestor David was.   He will  rule the people of Israel forever, and his kingdom will never end."  Mary  asked the angel, "How can this happen? I am not married!"  The angel  answered, "The Holy Spirit will come down to you, and God's power will  come over you. So your child will be called the holy Son of God.   Your  relative Elizabeth is also going to have a son, even though she is old. No one  thought she could ever have a baby, but in three months she will have a  son.    nothing is impossible for God!"    Mary said, "I am the Lord's servant!  Let it happen as you have said." And the angel left her.   (Luke 1:26-38)

In this account Gabriel appears to Mary and announces God’s plan to bring  the Messiah into the world by means of  her conception.  The child will be called Son of God.  Gabriel’s encounter with Mary was polite, gracious, and affirming.   Gabriel also told Mary of her cousin, Elizabeth who was  pregnant.  Gabriel is consistent, coherent, and affirming and truthful.  This angelic being, Gabriel, knows the true facts of what is going on in God’s plans.

In both cases confirmations were given to support the claims.  Zacharias  could not speak  immediately.  An angel appeared to Joseph, Mary’s intended husband,  that he should not hesitate to take pregnant Mary as his wife. (Matthew 1:20) 

Here again, the Holy Spirit is important in the lives of these people.   There  is no relationship to  Mohammed in any shape or form.  The Holy Spirit   shall come on you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you.   (Mohammed was not born yet)   Therefore also that Holy One which will be born of you shall be called Son of God.  God’s concern for Mary and the baby Jesus is expressed in another passage.

After the wise men found the new born King, Herod  began a search for  babies and had them killed in Nazareth.  But Joseph and Mary were  warned:   “After the wise men had gone, an angel from the Lord  appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Get up! Hurry and take the child  and his mother to Egypt! Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod  is looking for the child and wants to kill him."  That night, Joseph got up  and took his wife and the child to Egypt, (Matt. 2:13-14) 

There is continuing concern for protection for the family by an angel. We  are not told the angel’s name but the deity who sent the angels was Yahweh  of the Old Testament.

One might well ask the question concerning the nature of the Muslim Gabriel.   Is he the same one as in the Bible?  Could he be different?       One  of the reasons for asking this is that the information we gain in the Torah  and the Gospels is rejected by the revelations claimed by Mohammed and that Gabriel. 

Are there issues that make one question the Muslim Gabriel as being  legitimate?    The contradictions in Islam need explaining.   If Gabriel were  the same being in Islam and Christianity  why should there be  contradictions?   If Gabriel came from Yahweh in Islam why would  Mohammed reject what revelation has been given before?   Does Yahweh  not remember what he declared before?   Is Yahweh so fickle that he  changes his mind frequently?  It does not make sense for Gabriel to know  that Jesus is the Son of God and then turn around and reveal to  Mohammed that Jesus is not the Son of God. 

The gospel of John declares that God loves the world—excluding no race, national nor religious group—so much that he sent his Son, Jesus to bring salvation to the world,… but  the opposite is true in Islam where  Allah  hates the  non-Muslim world and commands jihad against those who reject Islam.  

Moses declared Yahweh to be faithful: "The LORD is your mighty defender, perfect and just in all his ways; Your God is faithful  and true; he does what is right and fair.” (Deuteronomy 32:4)  Paul describes God’s faithfulness in Romans, “For I tell you that Christ's life of service was on behalf of the Jews, to show that God is faithful, to make his promises to their ancestors come true…”  (Romans 15:8 GNB)

Yahweh is not capricious, unstable, nor vicious. 

If Islam began as a peaceful religion, what happened that made it change to violence? 

The Qur’an  gives information that was changed  as time went on in  Mohammed’s life.  This is called abrogation of previous verses.  Allah  is said to give a better revelation  than the previous revelation.  So previous  verses about peace are no longer valid and jihad, aggressive war against  non-believers, becomes the new command.

One wonders about the nature of the Allah in the Qur’an  since it seems he is making it up as he goes along and changing his mind.  This makes one question whether the Qur’anic Allah is real or not, and may be merely an account of   Mohammed’s development and change of mind.  Here is one of the verses:

“None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar: Knowest thou not that Allah Hath power over all things?” (Surah 2:106)

If Allah were  the all-knowing, all-wise, creator and sustainer of the universe; the  eternal, self-existent one why would he be changing his mind and revelation all  the time?   It does not seem to be rational that this Being would be changing his  mind so frequently.   One of the problems facing Muslims is that they are not to  question Allah, or Mohammed,  or imams.

In contrast, Yahweh said,   “I, the LORD, invite you to come and talk it over. Your sins are scarlet red,  but they will be whiter than snow or wool.” (Isaiah 1:18 CEV)

Instead of Islam being a peaceful religion Mohammed declared a new revelation that his followers were to smite the necks of unbelievers.  Killing became an accepted way of life and millions of people were killed throughout the centuries because of jihad.  Allah changed his mind and became responsible for the killing of millions of people. 

In contrast to Islam, in the Old Testament,  we have these words: 

Numbers 23:19  “God is no mere human! He doesn't tell lies or change his mind. God always keeps his promises.”    Because God does not lie he also  commands humans not to lie,  Leviticus 19:11  "Do not steal or cheat or lie.”   In  contrast,  Islam allows a person to lie if it will help achieve one’s goal. 

King Saul in the Old Testament disobeyed God and the prophet Samuel rebuked him, saying,  “Israel's majestic God does not lie or change his mind. He is not a human being---he does not change his mind. (I Samuel 15:29)

One other striking example in the Old Testament relates to the prophecies  concerning the future Messiah.  Concerning his suffering and death,

 “He was placed in a grave with those who are evil, he was buried with the rich, even though he had never committed a crime or ever told a lie." (Isaiah 53:9)    This passages  prophesies  that Jesus, the Messiah would be put to death contrary to the claims of Islam. Moreover, he spoke the truth and not lies.

Paul’s letter to Titus declares,  “I encourage God's own people to have more faith and to understand the truth about religion.   Then they will have the hope of eternal life that God promised long ago. And God never tells a lie!”   (Titus 1:1-2)

The book of Hebrews gives a wonderful phrase about Yahweh,  “God cannot tell lies! And so his promises and vows are two things that can never be changed.” (Hebrews 6:18

Yahweh made a promise to Abraham that his descendants would have  Israel as their homeland. They have it.  He promised a Messiah to Israel  and thru Israel He would bless the world.  He did it.    Jesus, God Incarnate, promised the gift of the Holy Spirit to those who received Him as Savior  and this still happens in the life of his followers.  There is forgiveness, love, joy, and peace in Jesus.  This is still happening and people around the world are having dreams and visions of Jesus in spite  of Muslim countries forbidding churches, and  missionaries  from coming to their country.  God is at work to bring people to himself through Jesus, the Christ. 

How can it be this Islamic Gabriel is so different and his message is so  different than that in the Bible?

The apostle John warned about false prophets. “Dear friends, don't believe  everyone who claims to have the Spirit of God. Test them all to find out if  they really do come from God. Many false prophets have already gone out  into the world,  and you can know which ones come from God.”(1 John 4:1-2)

How can this be?  The apostle Paul gives some help in looking at the problem. Take a look at Paul’s writing to the Corinthians in which he speaks  of false prophets and apostles.

“Those men are not true apostles---they are false apostles, who lie about  their work and disguise themselves to look like real apostles of Christ.   Well, no wonder! Even Satan can disguise himself to look like an  angel of light!  So it is no great thing if his servants disguise themselves to look like servants of righteousness. In the end they will get exactly what  their actions deserve.” (2 Cor. 11:13-15) 

If Satan  can disguise himself to look like an angel of light what are the  possibilities that the Muslim Gabriel  is an imposter?   If the angel Gabriel  told Mary that her child would be the Son of God, conceived by the power of  the Holy Spirit, and it came true,  what can be said about the Muslim  Gabriel who inspired Mohammed to reject the deity of Jesus? 

If Yahweh declared in the Law that one should not murder,  how can it be  true that  Mohammed claimed that  Allah wants people to do jihad and kill  people who will not convert to Islam?

(If you are interested in the issue of jihad in the Bible, check out this article.)

Jesus told a group of people,  “You are the children of your father, the Devil, and you want to follow your father's desires. From the very beginning he was a murderer and has never been on the side of truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he is only doing what is natural to him, because he is a liar and the father of all lies.”   (John 8:44) 

Could it be that the Gabriel that came to Mohammed is the devil in disguise as an   “angel of light” as Paul states? The devil wants to murder people.   Jihad is murder. This means he has never been on the side of truth.  To lie about the nature of Jesus is his goal. To lie about the crucifixion not happening is deceitful. The Muslim Gabriel does not deal with truth, but deception. 

Let us think of the implications of this for a moment.   The story of Genesis is the story of the tempter (Satan) bringing doubt into the woman’s heart and mind and she led the man into disobeying God.   The story is sad for the woman.   However, in a later time, a young woman becomes the means of the Incarnation,  the God-man, coming into the world.  Jesus brought a new prestige to woman. In this event the male is not involved, he is a bystander since this is an act of God.  The prestige of man is ignored.  The female is the important being. In essence, thru a woman, the devil meets defeat.

As time goes on the Devil gains a foothold through Mohammed and brings about the degradation of woman.  She is regarded as having half the intelligence of man, she cannot be trusted outside the house without a male relative, father, or husband, etc.   Her testimony in court is worth half of a man’s testimony.   She is regarded as a source of temptation because she is a woman.   In some Muslim cultures she must be covered up completely. She is incapable of being religious in the same way that man is religious.   Mohammed claimed that hell is filled with women.  In this case the Devil has his revenge on woman, particularly the exalted position of woman in the life of Jesus. It seems that the Devil is angry with Mary and woman should be punished  in Islam.

She is punished in so many ways and not the least is that she cannot make decisions for herself. In the west the marriage of cousins is generally rejected for good reasons. In contrast, many Muslims want their daughters to marry in the family so that property and wealth is kept in the family.  This has been practiced for hundreds of years.  Lots of girls do not want to marry their cousins.  They want to choose their own husbands.  If a girl rejects the marriage arrangement of the parents  she may be killed  because, it is said,  she brings dishonor to the family.  But there is an important issue raised in in-breeding.

“Medical evidence shows that one of the negative consequences of inbreeding is a 100 percent increase in the risk of stillbirths. One study comparing Norwegians and Pakistanis shows the risk that the child dies during labor increases by 50 percent. The risk of death due to autosomal recessive disorders — e.g., cystic fibrosis and spinal muscular atrophy — is 18 times higher. Risk of death due to malformations is 10 times higher. Mental health is also at risk: the probability of depression is higher in communities where consanguine marriages are also high. The closer the blood relative, the higher the risk of mental and physical retardation and schizophrenic illness.

And then there are the findings on intelligence. Research shows that if one’s parents are cousins, intelligence goes down 10-16 IQ points. The risk of having an IQ lower than 70 (criterion for being “retarded”) increases 400 percent among children from cousin marriages. An academic paper published in the Indian National Science Academy found that “the onset of various social profiles like visual fixation, social smile, sound seizures, oral expression and hand-grasping are significantly delayed among the new-born inbred babies.” Another study found that Indian Muslim school boys whose parents were first cousins tested significantly lower than boys whose parents were unrelated in a non-verbal test on intelligence.” (Source)

One other interesting issue relates to the Devil’s temptation of Jesus.  The third temptation is recorded as:  

“Finally, the devil took Jesus up on a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms on earth and their power.   The devil said to him, "I will give all this to you, if you will bow down and worship me."  Jesus answered, "Go away Satan! The Scriptures say: 'Worship the Lord your God and serve only him.' " (Matt. 4:8-10)  

Is there a connection between this temptation and the Muslim practice of bowing and worshipping Allah at least five times a day?    Allah does not seem to answer the prayers of the people because so much depends on “if Allah wills it.” They never know whether Allah wills it or not.  Allah is unknowable.

In the New Testament bowing down before Jesus was a spontaneous response to his healing people, delivering them from demonic possession, and other great deeds.  It seems that bowing in Islam before Allah and reciting a rote prayer is rather mechanical. Even more, for the majority of Muslims, these prayers are recited in a language they do not even understand.  Satan could not get Jesus to bow and it seems that Satan’s great desire to have someone bow before him is “over-done” in Islam.  It is excessive, in a way it was never practiced in the Old Testament or New Testament.

We don’t really know much about the nature of Allah.    Mohammed claimed to have a revelation from Gabriel and he began preaching about monotheism in Mecca which had 360 gods that were worshiped.   Allah is a word meaning god, or God.   The problem is the word has to be filled with content.  The character of God in the Bible is in vivid contrast to the  character of  God or Allah in the Qur’an. 

The Bible is filled with God’s concern for the world.  His love is expressed in delivering the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.  The story of the Bible is seeking to deliver people from slavery to freedom.   Islam seek to bring people from freedom to slavery to Allah.  The prophecies of the Old Testament speak of a Messiah that would come and bring deliverance to sinners.  This is expressed in the words of Jesus:  “ God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die.  God did not send his Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent him to save them!” (John 3:16-17)   

The claim that there is only one god did not set well with the Meccans.   In due time there was hostility toward Mohammed.   In response to this he preached that Islam is a religion of peace.  There is no coercion in religion.   He gained very few followers in Mecca.

His fortune changed when a group of men came from Yathrib  (Medina)  and invited him to come to their troubled city to deal with conflicting groups.   He accepted, and fled Mecca.   He organized Medina with a buddy system with one of his followers linked with a Medinian.  He now had power and began to use it.   He began to organize raids on Meccan caravans.  He began to deal with the Jews who rejected his claims of being a prophet.   The intense Muslim anti-Semitism arises out of the rejection by the Jews concerning his prophet-hood.

Now with power Mohammed preached a different kind of religion.  It was not a religion of peace, but a religion of jihad.   Once he claimed that there is no coercion in religion, but that was abrogated to the new demand—jihad.   Three choices came out of it:   1) become a Muslim,  2)  become a dhimmi and pay a tax for  your life, or 3) face the sword and be killed.   Freedom is no longer real. You must submit or else.   This is a drastic change of religion and it is justified on the basis of contradictory revelations from  “Allah.”

In spite of the media talking about Islam as a religion of peace, it is only misleading and deceptive.  Sure, the Qur’an does talk about Islam as a religion of peace, but with the abrogation principle the peaceful verses are abrogated in favor of jihad, war, and smiting the necks of unbelievers. 

What we are seeing today in various parts of the world is the ideology of jihad being put into practice in the killing of people who do not believe as a particular group believes.  Not only can one kill non-Muslims but one can kill other Muslims who do not believe what we believe.   Sunni Muslims are killing Shia and Shia are killing  Sunnis  and both are killing others who do not share their belief.

This is seen in Pakistan where Muslims killed school children who were Muslim, or a coffee shop in Australia, a plane crash in the world trade center, and all of these are motivated by the Qur’an and nothing else. 

People have been deceived, mislead, and corrupted by the claims related to a false Gabriel who seems to be the being inspiring Mohammed.   There is real evil in the world.

Muslims have instigated riots when people insult Mohammed or Islam.  However, the apostle John wrote about the issues in Islam six centuries before Mohammed.  Here is what was said:

 “We believe what people tell us. But we can trust what God says even more, and God is the one who has spoken about his Son.   If we have faith in God's Son, we have believed what God has said. But if we don't believe what God has said about his Son, it is the same as calling God a liar.   God has also said that he gave us eternal life and that this life comes to us from his Son. And so, if we have God's Son, we have this life. But if we don't have the Son, we don't have this life.”   (1 John 5:9-12)

John declares that Mohammed was lying, was wrong, was deceived.  If you want eternal life as God’s gift, it cannot be earned, it is only received through Jesus.  It is a gift of Yahweh, received by faith, not religious works, or earned in any way.   No one else can give this gift to you.  Consider the words of Jesus:

“Jesus answered them, "My Father is always working, and I too must work."  This saying made the Jewish authorities all the more determined to kill him; not only had he broken the Sabbath law, but he had said that God was his own Father and in this way had  made himself equal with God.   So Jesus answered them, "I tell  you the truth: the Son can do nothing on his own; he does only what he sees his Father doing. What the Father does, the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. He will show him even greater things to do than  this, and you will all be amazed.  Just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, in the same way the Son gives life to those he wants to.  Nor does the Father himself judge anyone. He has given his Son the full right to judge,  so that all will honor the Son in the same way as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.  "I am telling you the truth: those who hear my words and believe in him who sent me have eternal life. They will not be judged, but have already passed from death to life.” (John 5:17-24)