Apostle Paul & Apostle Muhammad – Similarities & Differences


  1. both had beards
  2. both wore sandals (or similar)
  3. both claimed to have received a revelation
  4. both point to another as the object of worship
  5. both responsible for ‘holy’ text
  6. both understood by many
  7. both misunderstood by many
  8. both had serious thoughts about women
    1. Paul thought they had certain roles & offices available to them
    2. Muhammad received the revelation that more than 3 should be available to him
  9. both were really important in the growth and formation of a world religion
  10. both had interesting gifts in knowledge and education
    1. Paul was an amazing writer and remarkably clever
    2. Muhammad was apparently illiterate but obviously had been exposed to other peoples knowledge – he too was remarkably clever
  11. both were amazing but flawed leaders
  12. both were responsible for the death of people who didn’t believe as they did
    1. Paul bore this responsibility before the revelation
    2. Muhammad bore this responsibility after the revelation
  13. both had a belief in a Jesus figure
  14. Paul encountered Jesus on a road within 6 years of Jesus’ death and resurrection
  15. Muhammad heard about ‘Jesus’ in a cave 600 years after Jesus lived, died and rose from the dead
  16. on the road – Paul was asked by Jesus “Why are you persecuting me?”
  17. in the cave – Muhammad was informed ‘Jesus’ didn’t even die – 600 years after the fact
  18. Paul, after the revelation began to preach that Jesus was the Son of God
  19. Muhammad, after the revelation began to teach that Jesus wasn’t the Son of God
  20. Paul is accused of inventing a religion – Christianity
  21. Muhammad’s words about Allah making it only look like Jesus died, if true, seems like it would have lead to the invention of a religion – Christianity
  22. both were questioned about their authority after the revelation
    1. Paul used sarcasm and self deprecation
    2. Muhammad used persuasion, fear of hell fire and the sword
  23. Paul before his revelation thought the idea of a defeated, crucified messenger of God scandalous
  24. Muhammad after his revelation thought the idea of a defeated, crucified messenger of God scandalous
  25. Paul came to realise that God’s strength is revealed in the weakness of men
  26. Muhammad came to realise that God’s strength is revealed in the strength of men
  27. the core of Paul’s faith is belief in God and his divine Messiah Jesus
  28. the core of Muhammad’s faith is belief in Allah and his prophet Muhammad
  29. Paul – reflecting on his future death, said “to be absent from the body was to be with the LORD”
  30. Muhammad, reflecting on his future death, was unsure if he would escape the hell fire
  31. the writings of Paul in many ways explain to the world what Christ has achieved and what a christian looks like and lives like
  32. the writings about Muhammad in every way tells the world how to live – from how and when and where to pray, to how to go to the toilet
  33. Paul called Christians to imitate him – in a Christ oriented life – not copy his everyday  actions
  34. Muhammad called Muslims to imitate him – in an Allah oriented life and copy his everyday actions
  35. Paul sang songs of worship to the LORD
  36. Muhammad – not so much
  37. Christian tradition says Paul was beheaded
  38. Islamic tradition says Muhammad appointed a judge who beheaded a great great number of enemies
  39. Paul was killed by Nero – possibly – probably
  40. Muhammad was killed by a young woman – possibly – probably
  41. Paul patently knew indepth the Jewish scriptures – this is evident from his writings
  42. Muhammad patently knew a very limited amount of the Jewish scriptures – this is evident from the Qu’ran
  43. the scriptures that Paul wrote reflect his thoughts, gifts and are superintended by God
  44. the ‘scriptures’ that Muhammad received do not reflect his thoughts, gifts and are superprovided by God
  45. when Paul quoted pagan ideas in his writings he named them as such
  46. when Muhammad received mythological stories in the quranic revelation they are not named as such
  47. Paul said Satan hindered him from visiting Thessalonica
  48. Muhammad said Satan fooled him with some verses which he initially thought were from God
  49. Paul is much loved by Christians
  50. Muhammad is adored by Muslims

Contrasts & Paradoxes

Today I want to begin a series of Contrasts and Paradoxes. As is usually the case the piec comes from someone else but was a blessing to me and I hope it may be a blessing to you. I love contrasts because in positioning two things together or against each other – each one is better understood on its own terms and alongside something else. The first in the series is Jesus & Paul. Who Paul? – you say. Paul – the Saint & Apostle – you must have heard of him). Damascus? 2000 or so years ago? Anyone?   Anyone?   Anyone?    Bueller?


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“Paul ran from Christ; Christ pursued and overtook him.  Paul resisted Christ; Christ disarmed him.  Paul persecuted Christ; Christ converted him.  Paul was an alien; Christ made him a member of the family.  Paul was an enemy; Christ made him a friend.  Paul was ‘in the flesh’; Christ set him ‘in the Spirit.’  Paul was under the law; Christ set him in grace.  Paul was dead; Christ made him alive to God.  How does one give reasons for this?  He does not give reasons; he sings, ‘Blessed be God who blessed us . . . even as he chose us in him.’”

Lewis B. Smedes, Union With Christ (Grand Rapids, 1983), pages 86-87.

HT (hat tip) Ray Ortlund at Christ is Deeper Still