How to Start a Conversation with a Muslim Friend

Alan shares two starting points when engaging Muslims in conversations about faith. 


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I was recently asked: What’s a good topic to begin a conversation with the Muslim about? I have two suggestions: Jesus and salvation. 

For Muslims, believing in Jesus is a required belief. It's one of the required articles of faith. They have to accept that Jesus is a prophet of Allah. Obviously, they don't accept that Jesus is the Son of God or that Jesus is the second person of the Trinity. Nevertheless, the Qur’an, their highest source authority, actually has a very high view of Jesus.

It's interesting to note that the Qur’an talks a lot about Jesus, in fact, far more than it does about Muhammad. For example, the Qur’an says that Jesus’ birth was announced by angels. The Qur’an teaches that Jesus was born of the virgin Mary. The Qur’an says Jesus lived a sinless perfect life. The Qur’an teaches that Jesus was able to perform miracles like heal the sick and raise the dead. The Qur’an says that at the end of Jesus’ life, he was taken up to be in the presence of Allah, and in some versions of Islam, Jesus is also the appointed one to return at the end of time and kill the anti-Christ and usher in the end of the age. 

That's pretty significant that the Qur’an says all those things about Jesus. What's more interesting is when you compare that with what the Qur’an says about Muhammad. For example, the Qur’an does not teach that there is any sort of announcement about Muhammad's birth. He had a normal birth. The Qur’an does not teach that Muhammad lived a sinless perfect life. It doesn't call him the Messiah. He wasn’t able to perform miracles. It doesn’t say that he was able to perform miracles. According to the Qur’an, Muhammad has been dead and buried in Saudi Arabia for the last 1400 years, and he's not the appointed one to return at the end of time. This is rather significant, and this is why I say talking about Jesus with a Muslim is a great way to begin a conversation because Jesus is central to your own faith but also somebody they’re comfortable talking about.

The topic of salvation is the other thing that I recommend talking to a Muslim about. One of the first questions I ask a Muslim is this: Are you %100 confident that when you die you’re going to heaven? I don't think I've ever had a Muslim say they’re %100 confident. The reason is because in Islam, they have a meritorious based system of salvation. In other words, they're going to heaven or hell based on their deeds. If their good deeds out weigh their bad deeds, they’re going to heaven. If their bad deeds out weigh their good deeds, they're going to hell. So they have no way of knowing how many deeds they’ve committed, whether they’re good or bad, or how they’re weighted, so they don't have any confidence in their salvation.

Of course, you as a Christian can have that confidence because God has been willing to offer you a pardon and to pardon all of your crimes against Him. This is what you can talk to the Muslim about.

This is why Jesus and salvation are great conversation starters with the Muslim because, after all, you put those two together and you get the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that is what you want to talk to Muslims about. In fact, you want to talk to any non-believer about the gospel because this is the only way that a Muslim can have assurance of salvation, is through Jesus Christ. That’s the plan of salvation, and that's what I recommend you talk to Muslims about.

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Alan Shlemon