The Bible and Islam on Prayer
Contrary to common belief, the Bible and Islam have a lot in common. Perhaps, my favorite commonality is their presentation of the beautiful names of God. There is a name of Allah, Al-Mujib, which briefly touches on the subject of what the Bible and Islam teach about prayer. Al-Mujib means the Responder to Prayer.
Clearly, the two holy books deal with the subject of prayer quite differently once one start digging in. Time does not allow for an exhaustive look into the topic, but a quick understanding of Al-Mujib provides some insight and a starting point for further dialogue, Al-Mujib – The Responder to Prayer. As we look to the Quran we see the following:
“To the Thamud People (We sent) Salih, one of their own brethren. He said: “O my people! Worship Allah. Ye have no other god but Him. It is He Who hath produced you from the earth and settled you therein: then ask forgiveness of Him, and turn to Him (in repentance): for my Lord is (always) near, ready to answer.” S. 11:61
This is an interesting attribute of Allah. Coming from an Islamic point of view, it’s even more interesting. Does this verse agree with the Christian view of prayer? Are Muslims able or encouraged to petition Allah whenever they want? Do they have any confidence that He’ll respond favorably to their requests? Do the Bible and Islam agree concerning God’s responses to prayer?
From my experience in speaking with and interacting with Muslims, the answers to the above three questions is a resounding no. Neither the verse above, nor any other verse in the Quran even comes close to describing the true Responder to Prayer as He is described in the Bible. This is ok, however.
The rest of the picture can be colored in by the Bible. For Muslims seeking to worship God in sincerity and truth, we not only have the Quran, a Muslim’s starting point, but the Bible (Injeel), God’s good news. Notice, the Quran and the Bible may provide different results and information than the Bible and Islam do. Read that sentence again until it sinks in.
I don’t point this out just to say that the Christian religion or holy book has more advanced options than that of Islam. That is not my point at all. My point is simply to present our awesome God as He truly is. He is the One whose ears are always open to our prayers.
He’s the one who sees ahead and provides what we have need of before we even ask, but still calls us to ask for what we desire that our joy may be full. He’s the Faithful God who watches over His Word so that it is fulfilled!
This is where the Bible and Islam differ on prayer. I found an interesting verse from the Quran which speaks of invoking Allah by His excellent names, and standing aloof from all who distort the meaning of His attributes. If you’d like to see it, just go to S. 7:180 in the Quran. My intention however, is not to stand aloof from Muslims because they may misunderstand and misrepresent Allah’s attributes. My intention is to simply look at what the Bible and Islam (and the Quran) teaches about prayer. My intention is motivated by my Lord, Jesus:
“And the Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.” 2Tim. 2:24-26 NASB
Again, this is but a brief, surface look at what the Bible and Islam say about prayer. For an accurate picture of Responder to Prayer, look up a few of the following Scriptures: 1John 5:14-15, John 15:7- 8, James 5:13-18, Jer. 33:3, Mark 11:22-26, Ps. 91:14-15, & Eph. 6:10-20. Are there other verses in the Quran or Islam which speak of prayer? Hhmmmm?
Are there more Bible scriptures than this? Is this all the Bible and Islam have to say about prayer? Absolutely not, there is more. This should give you enough to ‘chew on’ though, and should inspire you to dare to believe Him!
About the Author
Wadia Abdullah Ibn Az-Zahir is an ardent follower of Christ who travels extensively throughout the Middle East sharing the Gospel with Arab Muslims. To learn more about connections between the Bible and Islam go to http://www.islamandjesus.com