What Are the Crucial Differences between Muhammad and Jesus?
The world’s two largest religions emerged through Jesus and Muhammad. The Bible and the Qur'an (the Muslim holy book: aka the Koran) both teach that Jesus was born a virgin, lived a sinless life, performed miracles, is the Messiah, is a great prophet, and will one day return to earth. But there are major differences as well. The Bible reports that Jesus (1) is the divine Son of God who (2) died for the sins of humankind and (3) rose from the dead shortly afterward. The Qur’an denies all three of these key Christian beliefs.
The Qur’an teaches that Muhammad was the last prophet and reports only one miracle performed by him: the writing of the Qur'an. This was a miracle, say Muslims, because Muhammad was supposedly illiterate. Otherwise, the Qur’an does not clearly mention any miracles performed by Muhammed and even appears to deny that any such thing occurred, while the earliest report of a miracle by Muhammad cannot be found until about 125 years after his death. It is nowhere taught that Muhammad was sinless. However, the Qur'an teaches that Muhammad is a moral example for all to follow. In short, the Bible teaches that Jesus is greater than any prophet and is God’s very own Son (Lk 22:70; Rm 1:4; 2 Co 1:19), whereas the Qur’an teaches that both Jesus and Muhammad were great prophets, but nothing more.
The Qur’an teaches that it is a terrible sin to refer to Jesus as God's Son (Sura 4:171; 5:16, 72, 18:4-5). But the Bible teaches that those who do not honor Jesus for who He truly is dishonor God and will be condemned (Jn 5:16-23, 8:21-59). Another crucial difference between Jesus and Muhammad is that the evidence supporting Jesus’ claims is far superior to the evidence supporting the claims about Muhammad.
The Qur’an provides only one test for knowing that Muhammad is a true prophet: Try to write a chapter as perfect as those in the Qur’an and you will come to understand that it cannot be done and that the Qur’an is divinely inspired (2:23, 10:37-38, 17:88).
With this test in mind, read any of the final ten chapters of the Qur’an (especially 111) since they are very short and try to write one superior in content in poetic rhythm. It is quite easy to do and demonstrates that the Qur’an fails its own highly subjective test for divine inspiration. A Muslim may counter that the Qur’an is more beautiful when read in Arabic, but you may answer that your own chapter is more beautiful when in English.
So the test provided by the Qur’an comes down to a matter of personal taste. Do you prefer the beauty of Arabic or English? Beauty is in the eye (or ear) of the beholder.
On the other hand, there is very good evidence that Jesus claimed to be God’s Son, died by crucifixion, and rose from the dead. These facts provide important reasons for following Jesus, rather than Muhammad or anyone who insists that Muhammad is equal to Him.
This article can be found in "Apologetics Study Bible for Students", page 1245.
Please also see our comprehensive study for the book of 2 Corinthians that includes commentary from www.enduringword.com.