by Silas





            Jesus founded Christianity, Muhammad founded Islam.  These are the two largest religions in the world with about 1.8 billion and 1.1 billion members respectively.  Without a doubt, these men have affected humanity in a powerful way.  As religious leaders they laid down many principles to live by.


            Both religions have much in common, but differ strongly in other aspects.  What were the founders' characters like?  How do they compare with each other?   What does the Bible and the Quran say about Jesus?  What did their teachings and actions induce their followers to do?  This article answers these questions by comparing and contrasting some of their actions and teachings.




NOTE:  I will use the Bible, usually the New International Version (NIV)[1] as the source for Jesus' words and actions.  I will quote from the Quran, usually N.J. Dawood's translation [2], and the Hadiths of Bukhari [3] and Muslim [4], the "Life of Muhammad" [5], which is a translation done by A. Guillaume of Ibn Ishaq's "Sirat Rasulallah", the "History" of Tabari [6], and the Sunan of Abu Dawud [7].  Generally, the Hadiths of Bukhari and Muslim are the sayings and deeds of Muhammad, and are recognized as the most authentic by Islamic scholarship.  Ibn Ishaq's "Sirat Rasulallah" is recognized as the best extent biography of Muhammad, and Tabari's "History" is the best historical account of Muhammad and the early Islamic community available.










JESUS:  "Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Luke 23:34.  (said while dying on the cross at Calvary after being betrayed and sentenced to die for no legitimate reason).



MUHAMMAD: "May Allah curse the Jews and Christians for they built the places of worship at the graves of the prophets." Bukhari, Vol. 1, #427 [Muhammad had been poisoned years earlier by a Jewish woman whose husband was killed by the Muslims and the poison had slowly worked its effect. He said this while dying in the arms of his wife Aisha].




            As I've studied both of these men's lives, I find that the above comparison details some of the strongest character differences.  Here are their dying words, words that will mark the end of their lives.  Christ asks God to forgive His enemies, while Muhammad utters a bitter curse against those who rejected his assertion of prophethood.  Wouldn't it have been more appropriate for Muhammad to ask Allah to guide the Christians and Jews while he was dying?










JESUS:  had no slaves.  Jesus taught to do to others as you would have them do to you.  Jesus had no slaves, and it is apparent from His teachings that He would not have slaves.  He freed men, not enslaved them.  No one wants to be enslaved against their will.


Further, Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 1:8-10,


            "We know that the law is good if one uses it properly.  We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers..."


            From these verses, we see that forcibly enslaving people, and trading in slaves, are against Christian teachings.




MUHAMMAD:  was a slaver.  He owned and sold many slaves, both male and female.  He said Allah allowed him and his Muslim followers to have sex with their female slaves when the men wanted to.  Reference the Quran, Sura (chapters) 33:50, 52, 23:5, and 70:30.  Slaves are considered "booty" for Muslims when taken in raids, thus they are Muslim's property.  Muhammad felt proud and conceited enough to enslave thousands of people.


            The great Islamic historian Tabari wrote regarding Muhammad's sexual intercourse with his slave Mariyah; "he had intercourse with her by virtue of her being his property."  [Tabari, Volume 39, page 194].



            Muhammad made slaves out of the people he raided and fought against.  Most notable were the women and children survivors of Muhammad's massacre of the 800 males (young teens and up) of the Jewish Banu Quraydhah, Sura 33:26.  The Sirat Rasulallah - the earliest biography of Muhammad, gives much more detail on pages 461 and on.  Shortly after massacring the Jewish males Ibn Ishaq wrote on page 466:


            "Then the apostle divided the property, wives, and children of the Banu Qurayza among the Muslims, and he made known on that day the shares of horse and men, and took out the fifth", (Muhammad and his family got one fifth of all the spoils of war). . . Then the apostle sent Sa'd . . . with some of the captive women of Banu Qurayza to Najd and he sold them for horses and weapons."




            Bukhari also documents Muhammad owning many slaves - vol. 5, # 541 & vol. 7, # 344.  Muhammad had Negro, Arab, Egyptian, male, female, Jewish, Christian, and pagan Arab slaves.


            Muhammad also allowed slaves to be harshly beaten.  When his wife was being examined as to whether or not she committed adultery, Muhammad's son in law, Ali, brutally beat Aisha's slave in front of Muhammad, in order to insure that she tell the truth about Aisha.  Here is the quote from Ibn Ishaq's "Sirat Rasulallah", translated as "The Life of Muhammad", by A. Guillaume, (page 496):


            "So the apostle called Burayra (Aisha's slave) to ask her, and Ali got up and gave her a violent beating saying, "Tell the apostle the truth,"....


            Muhammad did not stop Ali from beating the slave.


            Muhammad also allowed newly captured female slaves to be used for sex.  From the Hadith of Sahih Muslim vol. 2, #3371



            Abu Sirma said to Abu Said al Khudri:  "O Abu Said, did you hear Allah's messenger mentioning about al-azl (coitus interruptus)?"  He said, "Yes", and added:  "We went out with Allah's messenger on the expedition to the Mustaliq and took captive some excellent Arab women; and we desired them for we were suffering from the absence of our wives, (but at the same time) we also desired ransom for them.  So we decided to have sexual intercourse with them but by observing azl" (withdrawing the male sexual organ before emission of semen to avoid conception).  But we said:  "We are doing an act whereas Allah's messenger is amongst us; why not ask him?"  So we asked Allah's messenger and he said:  "It does not matter if you do not do it, for every soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will be born".




And vol. 3, #3432


            Abu Said al-Khudri reported that at the Battle of Hunain Allah's messenger sent an army to Autas and encountered the enemy and fought with them.  Having overcome them and taken them captives, the Companions of Allah's messenger seemed to refrain from having intercourse with captive women because of their husbands being polytheists.  Then Allah, Most High, sent down regarding that:  "And women already married, except those whom your right hands possess (Quran - 4:24), (i.e. they were lawful for them when their Idda (menstrual) period came to an end).





            Jesus' teachings would preclude people from forcibly enslaving people.  "Do to others as you would have them do to you" - Luke 6:31.  On the other hand, Muhammad and his soldiers went out and attacked many people and forced them into slavery.  Worse yet, Muhammad separated slave families by dividing them up between his soldiers and he allowed the men to rape the female slaves.










JESUS:  was born sinless; He lived a sinless life.  Jesus asserted his sinlessness.

John 8:46 - "Can any of you prove me guilty of sin?  If I am telling the truth why don't you believe me?"  Also note 2 Cor. 5:21, 1 John 3:5, Heb. 4:15


MUHAMMAD:  was declared to be a sinner - Sura 40:55 - "Therefore have patience; God's promise is surely true.  Implore forgiveness for your sins, and celebrate the praise of your Lord evening and morning."


Sura 48:1,2 - "We gave you a glorious victory so that God may forgive you your past and future sins ....."



Muhammad also prayed for forgiveness of his sins, Bukhari volume 9, #482:

            "...O Allah!  Forgive me the sins that I did in the past or will do in the future, and also the sins that I did in secret or in public.



            Further, Muhammad even acknowledged harming or cursing people unjustly.  From Sahih Muslim, volume 4, "The Book of Virtue and Good Manners, and Joining the Ties of Relationship, chapter MLXXV




Hadith #6287 - "Abu Juraira reported Allah's Messenger as saying, "O Allah, I am a human being and for any person amongst Muslims upon whom I hurl malediction or invoke curse or give him whipping make it a source of purity and mercy."




            Jesus was a sinless man – the Son of God.  Muhammad was a self proclaimed prophet – a man capable of sinning and making mistakes, having both good and bad traits.  At times he was kind, at times he cursed and harmed many people.  How much of their nature, or character, was inevitably translated into their respective religion?  Jesus was pure and sinless, Muhammad stated that he prayed for forgiveness up to 70,000 times a day!  Who would you rather follow?










From John 8:2-11


            At dawn He (Jesus) appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them.  The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery.  They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women.  Now what do you say?"  They were using this question as a trap in order to have a basis to accuse Him.

            But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with His finger.  When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."  Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

            At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.  Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they?  Has no one condemned you?"  "No one sir", she said.  "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared.  "Go now and leave your life of sin."






From the Hadith of Abu Dawud, #4428


            "Buraidah said:  "A woman of Ghamid came to the Prophet and said:  "I have committed fornication", He said:  "Go back".  She returned and on the next day she came to him again, and said:  "Perhaps you want to send me back as you did to Maiz b. Malik.  I swear by Allah, I am pregnant."  He said to her:  "Go back".  She then returned and came to him the next day.  He said to her:  "Go back until you give birth to the child."  She then returned.  When she gave birth to the child she brought the child to him, and said:  "Here it is!  I have given birth to it."  He said:  "Go back, and suckle him until you wean him."  When she had weaned him, she brought him to him with something in his hand which he was eating.  The boy was then given to a certain man of the Muslims and he (the prophet) commanded regarding her.  So a pit was dug for her, and he gave orders about her and she was stoned to death.  Khalid was one of those who were throwing stones at her.  He threw a stone at her.  When a drop of blood fell on his cheek, he abused her.  The prophet said to him:  "Gently, Khalid.  By Him in Whose hand my soul is, she has repented to such an extent that if one who wrongfully takes an extra tax were to repent to a like extent, he would be forgiven".  Then giving command regarding her, prayed over her and she was buried.""




            Here is a stark contrast between the two men.  When Jesus dealt with the adulterous woman, He did not condemn her.  He commanded her to go and sin no more.  He gave her a chance for redemption – the very model of mercy.


            How many people have started out down the wrong street, but years later were able to turn their lives around?  Not only in that, but they have been able to help others turn their lives around as well?  Jesus offered this chance to the woman.  Under the law, the Jews could have stoned the woman to death, but Christ's love and compassion was much greater.


            Muhammad’s approach was much different.  At first, he tried to dismiss the adulterous woman.  She confessed her sin to him, but he refused to hear her and deal with it.  Instead, he told her to go back.  This occurred three times.  Three times Muhammad ran from dealing with the situation.  Finally, after the women's consistent confession, Muhammad was forced to confront her sin.  He allowed her to give birth, suckle and then wean the child, which could have taken 1 to 3 years.  Then she returned and Muhammad had her killed.


            This woman not only confessed, but she repented.  She was a good mother to her child and she was a responsible member of her community.  Couldn't Muhammad have forgiven her as he had so many other types of sinners?  Muhammad allowed many others off for the sins they committed.  Even people who had killed his family members were forgiven if they confessed he was a prophet of God and there was only one God.  But Muhammad was unable to deal compassionately with the woman.  He couldn't see beyond his nose.  He couldn't see that she had turned her life around, properly raised her child, and was doing the right thing.  Muhammad's shortsightedness caused her death.


            Muhammad did not even deal with it after Judaic law.  In Moses' law, the adulterer was to be stoned to death.  Muhammad did not do so, he gave the woman several years to live.  Even if you take into account the respite to give birth to a child, Muhammad waited until the woman weaned the child.  Surely there were other women who could have nursed the child.  Muhammad simply dealt with the situation as best, (or not best) as he could; Muhammad made up his own rules as he went along.










JESUS:  In Luke 9:54, 55 Jesus rebuked His disciples when they wanted to destroy a town that rejected Him.  Also, in Luke 22:52, Jesus' disciples started to fight against those that came to arrest Jesus, He stopped them, and healed a man injured in the fight.



MUHAMMAD:  told his followers to aggressively make war on non-Muslims: 9:5, 29.  Sura 9 was one of the last Suras given by Muhammad.  Initially, when Muhammad's group was weak, he ordered his followers to try to get along with other people.  After the Muslims became powerful, he ordered them to spread Islam by force.  Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman continued his wars of aggression.  A few of Muhammad’s actions include:


            The massacre of approximately 800 Jewish male captives:  (noted in Sura 33:26).


            He ordered the execution of 10 people when he took Mecca.  Three of these people were slave girls who had previously made fun of Muhammad.  Refer to "The Life of Muhammad", pages 551 and 552.


            He attacked the Jewish city of Khaibar where he took one of the Jewish leaders and tortured him to force him to tell where some buried money was.  After the man refused to talk, and was near death, Muhammad ordered that his head be cut off.  Refer to "The Life of Muhammad", page 515.




            No one would envision Jesus ordering the execution of slave girls for mocking him years earlier.  He brought a better message and a better way of life.  No one would imagine Jesus having a man tortured to reveal buried money.  His life was free of greed.


            Muhammad could be a very brutal man.  Does killing a few slave girls for mocking him seem justified?.  Is having them killed for that justified? Does it seem rational or sensible?  Does torturing a man just to get money portray the type of man society should follow, obey, and emulate?









JESUS:  was not married.  He healed women, forgave women, and encouraged women.  The New Testament teaches that husbands should love their wives and not be harsh with them:  Col. 3:19, Eph. 5:25,  that men and women are equal in Christ - Gal 3:28, that they should be treated with respect - 1 Pet  3:7.



MUHAMMAD:  commanded his male followers to beat their disobedient wives.  He gave men the right to beat their wives who persistently disobeyed them.


     Sura 4:34  "As those you fear may be rebellious admonish, banish them to their couches, and beat them."


            The above verse was revealed in connection with a woman who complained to Muhammad that her husband slapped her on the face, which was still marked by the slap.  At first Muhammad said to her "Get even with him", but then added 'Wait until I think about it". Later on the above verse was revealed, and Muhammad added, 'We (He and the woman) wanted one thing, Allah wanted another.



The Hadith also said much about women:



            Muhammad said that women are generally so evil, that they will make up the majority of people in to hell.  Continuing with Bukhari,


Vol. 1, #301:  "O women!  Give alms, as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women).  They [women] asked, "Why is it so, O Allah's Apostle?"  He replied, "You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands."



Bukhari Vol. 1, #28:  "The Prophet said, "I was shown the Hell-fire and the majority of its dwellers were women who were ungrateful."  It was asked, "Do they disbelieve in Allah?" (or are they ungrateful to Allah?), he replied, "They are ungrateful to their husbands and are ungrateful for the favors and the good done to them...."



Sahih Muslim says they are the minority in Paradise:


Volume 4, #6600:  "Imran Husain reported that Allah's messenger said:  Amongst the inmates of Paradise the women would form a minority."



            By putting these two Hadith together, we find that Muhammad said that women were the minority in Paradise, and the majority in hell.  Therefore it is not a statistical ratio due to the possibility that there are more women than men.  Muhammad viewed women as more sinful than men.  And the reason more women are in hell is because the women were ungrateful to their husbands!




Muhammad also declared that women are less intelligent than men:


Bukhari, Volume 1, #301:


            "...Then he (Muhammad) passed by the women and said, "O women, give alms as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women)."  they asked, "Why is it so O Allah's messenger?"  He replied, "You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands.  I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you.  A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you."  The women asked, "O Allah's messenger, what is deficient in our intelligence and religion?"  He said, "Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?"  They replied in the affirmative.  He said, "This is the deficiency in her intelligence....."




            Christ's teachings show that women and men are equal in God's sight.  "There is neither male nor female in Christ".  Socially, Christ dealt with them according to the Father's mercy.

            Muhammad positioned females as in between slave and free.  Even today in Islamic countries women are regulated to being second class and controlled by the males.  This is because of where Muhammad placed them in his teachings.










JESUS:  said He was the Son of God:  John 5:18-27, 10:36, Matt 26:63, 64


[Jesus] asked, "Who do you say that I am?"  Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God." Jesus replied, "Blessed are you Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven."

Matthew 16: 15-17





"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."  John 1:14





"Christ Jesus . . . who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men . . ."  Philippians 2:5-7




MUHAMMAD:  said Jesus was not the Son of God - the Quran makes no distinction among Prophets and Christ is no more than a Messenger:


Sura 5:75         "Christ the son of Mary was no more than a messenger: many were the messengers that passed away before him ..."



The Quran denies Christ's divine origin:


Sura 43:59:       "He was no more than a servant:  we granted our favor to him, and we made him an example to the children of Israel."


Sura 3:59:         "The similitude of Jesus before Allah is that of Adam:  he created him from dust, then said to him, "Be": and he was."




            Christ, as a great prophet and teacher, also taught that He was the Son of God, the Word of God, the Messiah, and God incarnate.  Muhammad denied this.  Either Jesus was telling the truth, or he was a liar or lunatic.  Both men could not be correct concerning Christ's identity.  Remember, Muhammad came wandering out of the desert, with "revelations" some 600 years later.  He had little clue as to what he was talking about.  He frequently contradicted the Bible that he asserted as the Word of God. 









            A man worshipped Jesus, and Jesus permitted it, but Jesus taught that only God was to be worshipped in Matthew 4:10 -


            Jesus said to him, "Away from me Satan for it is written, "Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only".


            Yet Jesus allowed people to worship him in Matthew 8:2 -


"And behold, there came a leper and worshipped Him saying..."



The Bible commands us to worship Jesus Christ:


            "... all should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father.  He that honors not the Son honors not the Father which sent him."  John 5:23


            "... let all the angels of God worship him."  Hebrews 1:6


            "... at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."  Philippians 2:10, 11






   The Quran implies that Jesus is not worthy of worship:


Sura 43:81:       "Say: 'If the Most Gracious had a son, I would be the first to worship him.'"




            Only God has the right to be worshipped as divine.  Men have received worship as rulers, but God commanded that He alone is to be worshipped.  Jesus taught this, but He received worship.  Muhammad did not know who Jesus was, and thus he denied worship to the Son of God.










JESUS:  taught His disciples to pray simply, and from the heart.  God listens to the heart, not the outward form:


Matt: 6:5-13:    "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father who is unseen.  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.  And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words..."


Jesus taught that true prayer was an expression of relationship and communication with a heavenly Father.



MUHAMMAD:  taught formalized prayer ritual:  (quotes are from Bukhari, Vol. 1)


488 - passing in front of a praying person annuls his prayer

489 - it's a sin to pass in front of someone while they're praying

660 - don't raise from prayer before the Imam {Muslim cleric leading the formal, ritualized prayers), or God will turn your face into a donkey's face

685 - if the prayer rows (of men) aren't straight, God will alter your faces

690 - if the prayer rows aren't straight, the prayer is not good

717 - if you look up during prayer, you'll lose your eyesight

759 - if you don't perform the bowing perfectly, your prayers are not accepted



     These men were quite different. Both have left their marks upon the world.  Christians follow Christ, Muslims follow Muhammad.  Both claimed to have been from God, but their teachings and actions contradict each other.  Only one could have truly been from God


Jesus said that false prophets would come:  Matthew 24:11 - "And many false prophets shall arise and shall deceive many".  Is it possible that Muhammad falls into the false prophet category?









[1]        The New International Study Bible, pub. by Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA.

[2]        The Quran, translated by N.J. Dawood, pub. by Penguin Books, London, England.

[3]        "Sahih Al-Bukhari" - "The Translation of the Meanings of Sahih Al-Bukhari", translated by Dr. M Khan, pub. by Kitab Bhavan, New Delhi, India.

[4]        "Sahih Muslim", translated into English by A. Siddiqi, pub. by International Islamic Publishing House, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

[5]        "Sirat Rasulallah" - "The Life of the Prophet of God", translated as "The Life of Muhammad" by A. Guillaume, pub. by Oxford University Press, London, England.

[6]        "The History of Tabari", published by SUNY, Albany, New York, USA.

[7]        "Sunan of Abu Dawud", published by Al-Madina Publications, New Delhi, India.






Rev A: 6-6-97,   Rev B: 12-20-97,  Rev C: 3-22-98,  Rev D:  2-4-99,  Rev E:  4/17/99,  Rev F:  10/13/99, Rev G:  8/28/01

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