This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here and the previous post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.There are several things that stand in striking contrast between the Jewish and Christian religions and the religion of Islam, one being the degree to which Muslims elevate and venerate one man; the man Muhammad. The Jewish religion is entirely vacant of any form of exaltation of a single man for worship, obedience, veneration, and devotion. Similarly, especially in the first few centuries, Christians also refused to elevate one man above another for special treatment and consideration, remembering Jesus' words that "you are all brothers." (Matthew 23:8) Later on, Mary and Peter would be raised to special status within the church but it was a later innovation and not taught or practiced within the early church. The only human focus of worship for Christians is the person of Jesus Christ who was more than a prophet, apostle, and warner but also God. As Christians we worship Him as God and not a mere human. However, Muslims continue to venerate and exalt Muhammad above all others; a practice that stems from more than simple honor, a practice that is commanded by the Koran. The Koran teaches that faith and obedience to Muhammad is the same as faith and obedience to God.
"And those who believe in God and His Messengers [Apostle] and make no division between any of them, those -- We shall surely give them their wages [reward at last]." (Koran 4:151)
"Whosoever obeys the Messenger [Apostle], thereby obeys God; and whosoever turns his back -- We have not sent thee to be a watcher over them [to be their keeper]." (Koran 4:82)In Islam, there is no separating your faith, obedience, and fidelity to Muhammad from your faith, obedience, and fidelity to God. You cannot believe and follow God and doubt Muhammad at the same time and still consider yourself to have surrendered (to be a Muslim). This, in striking manor, separates Islam from Christianity and Judaism. However, the Koran explicitly condemns those who try to follow God without similarly following Muhammad.
"Those who disbelieve in God and His Messengers [Apostles] and desire to make division between [separate] God and His Messengers [Apostles], and say, 'We believe in part [some we believe], and disbelieve in part [some we disbelieve],' desiring to take between this and that a way [a middle way] those in truth are the unbelievers [infidels]; and We have prepared for the unbelievers a humbling chastisement [shameful punishment]." (Koran 4:149-150)
One must remember that these Suras were not penned by some prophets testifying of the need to believe and obey Muhammad. They were prophesied by Muhammad himself in regard to himself that others must obey and believe in him. Something never done in the past by any prophet or apostle of God. However, even Paul, when some claimed him as their leader in preference to other apostles of that day, rebuked them as being childish and carnal.
"For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? For when one says, 'I am of Paul,' and another, 'I am of Apollos,' are you not mere men?" (1 Corinthians 3:3-4)
Our Christian faith is not dependent upon our belief and obedience to Paul, Peter, or any of the other prophets or apostles but only in our faith and obedience to God and to Jesus who is both the Son of God and God Himself. This kind of man-centered worship, veneration, and devotion is completely alien to the faith we have inherited from Abraham and aught not to be practice by any religion that claims Abraham as their father of faith.
More to come...