Although some similarities exist between Muhammad and Jesus (like being great religious leaders and having a worldwide influence), their differences are far greater. These include differences in claims, character, authority, credentials, power and message. Let’s take a look at some of these important differences.
Muhammad said he was just a man; Jesus claimed to be God. In fact, Muhammad never claimed to be more than a man, a prophet of Allah. His following prayer reflects that:
“O Allah! I am but a man.” (Ahmed, Musnad, Vol. 6, pg. 103)
Although Jesus was fully a man who felt pain, became hungry, tired, and was tempted like us, Jesus also claimed to be fully God, equal with his heavenly Father. He said that prior to becoming a man, he and the father had always existed as one God, and had jointly created the universe. (For further reading on Jesus’ claims, visit Did Jesus Claim to Be God?)
Several popular conspiracy theories, like The Da Vinci Code, have asserted that the church invented Jesus’ divinity, but historical evidence indicates the earliest Christians believed that Jesus is both Lord and God. (For further reading on this topic, visit Was There a Da Vinci Conspiracy?)
Christianity would not be the same if Jesus’ disciples hadn’t truly believed he was God. (The term, “Son of God” does not mean a biological offspring, or that Jesus is inferior to his Father, it only reflects their relationship with each other within the godhead). All the evidence points to the fact that the disciples totally embraced his deity. (For further reading on the apostles’ beliefs, visit Did the Apostles Believe Jesus is God?)
As a mortal man, Muhammad sinned like us. Jesus was said to be “without sin” (John 8:46). Even his enemies were unable to accuse him of breaking any of God’s Commandments. But Muhammad admitted he had erred, and asked Allah for forgiveness three times (Sura al-Ghafir 40:55; 47:19 al-Fath 48:2).
Muhammad never performed a miracle (Qur’an 29:50), but Jesus exhibited complete authority over nature by performing numerous miracles (Mark 3:9,10).
Jesus fulfilled ancient Hebrew prophecies; Muhammad did not. Muhammad offered no credentials but his revelation. Yet, nearly 300 Old Testament prophecies with 61 specific details were fulfilled by Jesus Christ. Only God could have brought all those details to pass. Thus, Jesus is a perfect match for each of them. Jesus’ divine credentials were established by his fulfillment of God’s prophetic Word. (For further reading on these fulfilled prophecies, see Was Jesus the Messiah?)
Jesus’ resurrection demonstrated divine power; Muhammad died and his bones are reportedly within his grave at Medina. Jesus, on the other hand, came back to life three days after he was crucified and confirmed dead by Roman executioners. Both Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection are historical facts for which there is compelling evidence. (For more information on this evidence, see Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?)
Jesus taught love and grace; Muhammad taught submission and rules. Muhammad taught that we must attain salvation by adhering to Islam’s Five Pillars of the Faith. In other words, our salvation depends on our own efforts. Even then, one has no assurance of forgiveness, and must depend upon the mercy of Allah for forgiveness. Some Muslims believe that the Qur’an teaches that becoming a martyr for Allah will gain them favor and they will be rewarded by a heavenly harem.
Jesus said God created us for a relationship with Himself. His plan is to adopt us into His heavenly family as His beloved children. However, we rebelled against Him and broke His moral laws. The Bible calls this sin. Such disobedience against a holy God requires judgment. Our good deeds, money, or prayers cannot take away our sins.
The Bible tells us God is a pursuing God who devised a plan to free us from our sin debt. God’s solution was to pay the price Himself. In order to accomplish that, Jesus became a man who would die in our place (Philippians 2:5).
Jesus said: “God so loved the world that He sent Jesus to die for us” (John 3:16).
Jesus taught that salvation is a free gift which must be embraced by faith in him alone, not our deeds. It is our choice to accept or reject God’s free pardon. (To learn more about God’s plan, read Is Jesus Relevant Today?)
This post has been excerpted from the article Muhammad and Jesus: Compare the Men — Compare the Religions.