I first converted to Islam in 2002. Before that I was a born-again Christian for five years. I found the Christian life relativity easy: go to church once a week, read the bible now and then and generally try to live a good life. I was often reminded that Jesus Christ had died for my sins and I had nothing to worry about as long as I confessed my sins in his name. No need to earn my way to heaven by following different rituals like some religions.
Years later I was discussing Islam with a workmate who also had a little knowledge about Christianity. Through him I discovered that Islam was a more structured and complete religion that provided the answers to questions I was often asking. I learned that while the bible consisted of the Old and New Testament, the Quran was seen as the Last Testament. I found that many of our beliefs were the same or very similar.
If you are a Christian and you are thinking of converting to Islam then I would like to highlight a few points.
WHO IS GOD
Muslims worship the same God as the Christians. They refer to God as Allah, an Arabic word meaning «The God». Because people worshiped many false gods it was important to make sure that our God was not seen as just another god. Therefore the bible mentions God with a capital G to distinguish him from false gods while Muslims use the word «Allah».
Muslims believe that God is one with no partners and no equal. The concept of trinity is strongly rejected in Islam. Where some Christians believe that God is made up of three entities: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Islam sees this as the ultimate sin known as «shirk» which means to believe in something or someone equal to God or to worship other gods as well as God. Muslims believe the Holy Spirit is the angel Gabriel and they don’t speak in tongues.
People in the Old Testament would sacrifice lambs for the forgiveness of sins as they believed God required a blood sacrifice. Christians believe that Jesus came to this world to become the ultimate sacrifice by dying on the cross. So one big sacrifice is enough for God to forgive all mankind’s future sins as long as they confess through Jesus. Therefore Jesus is seen as their salvation as his sacrifice means God will always forgive them.
Muslims say Jesus was just a prophet. He was not the Son of God nor was he God in human form. God does not require a blood sacrifice. He is the most-merciful and is always willing to forgive sins.
Christians tend to pray whenever they want whever it is in the church or at home before bedtime. Some simply recite the Lord’s Prayer. Muslim’s are required to pray five times a day. Before prayer they perform a ritual washing known as Wudu which involves placing water on the head, face, neck, arms and feet. Prayers involve a series of movements and are spoken in Arabic.
Muslims believe in the prophets mentioned in the bible with the addition of the Prophet Muhammad who came 600 years after Jesus. Muslims say Jesus is a prophet only and not the Son of God but they do believe in his miracles (not the water into wine) and his virgin birth. Christians do and say things in the name of Jesus while Muslims do and say things in the name of Allah.
BIBLE AND QURAN
The bible was compiled from thousands of manuscripts written by many authors over hundreds of years. There are numerous versions of the bible which have major and minor differences. The bible follows a start to finish format by starting off with the creation of the world to the end times. The Quran mainly deals with the facts and is not in start to finish order. It confirms some facts from the bible (such as Moses drawing water from a rock) and rejects others such as Jesus dying on the cross.
EATING AND DRINKING
Muslims are not allowed to eat any part of a pig such as bacon or gammon. They can eat other meat providing it is halal (sacrificed in Allah’s name and in a different way). Muslims are also not allowed to drink alcohol. Muslims are required to fast for 30 days a year in the month of Ramadan.
If you are familiar to the teachings and stories in the bible you will find that Islam is a lot like Christianity. Many new Muslims may revert back to being Christians as they find they don’t like the changes they have to make to their lives when they become Muslims. But I can honestly tell you that these changes are actually better for you. Praying five times a day makes you closer to God for example as you are regularly keeping the prayer times in mind during the day.
Christians may like their easy life (pray when they want, no fasting etc… ) and therefore consider the extra efforts a burden. But I would ask you to consider this: imagine a diet where you could eat as much as you wanted and take little exercise. Of course that would appeal to you but you wouldn’t actually lose any weight which is the actual purpose of the diet. Therefore, the practices in Islam might seem like a harder life but once you get used to it you will find it is actually better for you.
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