Reviewed by Ray Jones, The Layman
What is Islam all about? How does it compare with Christianity? Why does conflict arise between the two?
The Rev. Mateen Elass has written a brief but extremely helpful book packed full of information taken directly from the Bible and the Quran. With continuing turmoil in the world, this book should be widely read about how Christianity and Islam have differing views of the meaning and purpose of life.
Elass provides 60 key themes posed as questions, listing what the Bible and the Quran say about each, followed by a brief “Perspectives” section to stimulate further thought and discussion.
He uses teachings of Jesus described in the Gospels, Acts, Hebrews and Revelation to compare with the teachings of Islam’s founder, Muhammad, from over 50 of the 114 Suras, or chapters, of the Quran. Muslims consider the Quran as divinely inspired, crediting God with asking the angel Gabriel to dictate the words in Arabic through Muhammad, to a variety of scribes who wrote them down in the early seventh century.
Elass is the son of a Muslim father from Syria who came to the United States as a student, married an American, and later worked in Saudi Arabia where Elass spent a number of years. His life experiences in the Muslim world and his knowledge of Arabic enable a superb understanding of the Quran, which Muslims claim can be understood only in the original Arabic.
Familiar with Islam and the Quran, and now as a Christian pastor who teaches and preaches from the Bible, Elass offers welcome insight into the meaning of various passages cited in response to the theme questions. The Perspectives sections are objective and enable the reader to draw his or her own comparisons and conclusions.
Studying this timely book will not only answer questions but will provide information for discussions as well as building bridges to a better understanding of viewpoints held by Muslims.
Ray Jones has been a member of the Presbyterian Lay Committee’s board of directors since 1999. He and his wife Kay reside in Wichita, Kan.
The Teachings of Jesus and Muhammad
By Mateen Elass
Publisher: eChristian Books