“Is the way of the Messiah truly all that different from the way of the Messenger? Can we really be confident that one religion or the other is true? Even so, is the truth worth dying for?” (19)
These are central questions in the introduction to Nabeel Qureshi’s No God but One: Allah or Jesus?, the comprehensive and persuasive follow-up to Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus (Zondervan, 2014). Comparing the two books, Qureshi states: “That book is the heart of my story, detailing the relationships, emotions, and spiritual struggles in my search for God. No God but One: Allah or Jesus? is the mind of my story, examining the religions and their claims.” (11)
This intention is clearly achieved as Qureshi traces his way through his own journey of examining the respective evidence for Christianity and Islam. Alongside his own experiences, he tells the story of Sara Fatima al-Mutairi, “a spirited young woman, a passionate teacher, a patriotic Saudi, and a recent convert to Christianity” (17). Fatima’s coming to faith in Jesus out of Islam was a dangerous conversion; the penalty for leaving Islam in Saudi Arabia is death. We’re introduced to Fatima as she has confessed to her family, including her brother, a member of the religious police, that she has begun to follow Jesus. The central questions above are Fatima’s, and they are the questions of many others across the world who have come to consider the claims of Christ over and against those of the Quran.
Leaving Islam can cost you everything: family, friends, job, everything you have ever known, and maybe even life itself. Is it really worth sacrificing everything for the truth? The answer is simple: It depends on the value of the truth. (349)
With this statement in mind Qureshi offers an extensive overview of the main questions to consider: Are Islam and Christianity really all that different? Can we know whether Islam or Christianity is true?
In his well-researched answers to these questions, Qureshi introduces the major concepts of Islam and Christianity. He offers clear and detailed summaries of significant issues such as the historical reliability of the Quran and the Bible, and accusations of violence surrounding the Crusades and Jihad. He also presents the evidence for Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection and the arguments for Islam’s claims that Muhammad is a prophet, and that the Quran is God’s word.
Qureshi offers an enormous weight of evidence for his answers, delivered through his own story
One of the major strengths of the book is the way that Qureshi is able to offer an enormous weight of evidence for his answers, delivered through his own story and the process by which he came to examine the evidence for himself. This produces a rich and relational journey for the reader.
Another strength is the genuine examination of the evidence for both faiths. Rather than just defending Christianity, he calls on Islam to offer defence and evidence for its claims. Particular highlights in this regard include the section on Islamic participation in the Crusades, as well as the detailed examination of the historical and moral accounts of Muhammad, and a comprehensive critique of claims that the Quran is the word of God.
This is not a short book or quick read, as Qureshi rightly wants to give his readers enough evidence that they’re able to decide for themselves. But by nature of the way he has organised the material, it would be quite easy to dip in and focus on answers to particular questions one might have.
His warm and gentle tone encourages readers to be equally warm
and generous towards others
No God But One has been written with two audiences in mind. First for those who are, like Qureshi and Fatima were, searching for the truth and trying to work out whether that truth is found in Allah or Jesus. Secondly it is for Christians who are hoping to engage with Muslim friends and neighbours in an informed way. For the former group, Qureshi’s own experience intertwined with his well-researched arguments serve to answer necessary questions in a clear and engaging way. For the latter, he offers a comprehensive introduction to the issues and helpful definitions of terms and ideas. His warm and gentle tone should encourage readers to be equally warm and generous in the way that they go on to speak to others.
I’d particularly recommend this book to people who have some knowledge and experience of speaking to Muslims, but want to be further equipped and informed. This will furnish you with a much greater understanding of both the details of the arguments, and the questions and beliefs that your Muslim friends already hold.
Title: No God But One: Allah or Jesus?
Author: Nabeel Qureshi
Publication Date: 2016
Price: Paperback £10.99