Summary: As I state in the message, comparing Jesus and Muhammad is pretty unfair. Jesus is eternal. Muhammad was temporal. Jesus is God. Muhammad is mere man, and admits it. Jesus is the Son of the Father, Muhammad was a spokesman for a distant god.
JESUS: First, Last, and Best
There was a man named Muhammad. And there was a man named Jesus Christ. These two men call for your allegiance, one out of the history books, one by His ever-living Spirit.
Their sayings and their lives are in total contradiction to one another. If one is correct, the other cannot be. May the Holy Spirit point out to you, confirm to you, the One Who has been anointed of God to save you and the world.
I do not doubt the claims of Jesus Christ to be the Son of the Living God, and intimately related to the Father so much that He is Himself God. Nor do I personally accept the claim of Muhammad, of seventh-century Arabia, to be the last prophet, or in the Biblical sense, a prophet at all. I certainly do not want my work to be seen as a lowering of the Son of God or an elevation of Muhammad.
Yet, nearly one of four people on this planet, the Muslims, believe that Jesus and Muhammad are equals. For nearly 1,400 years this has been Muslim belief. Christians must continue to meet this challenge to the Truth, just as in the political arena a rival needs to be answered in the eyes of men, not because there is any truth to the rival's claims, but for the very opposite reason.
It is not because we take Muhammad's claims seriously, as possibly true, that we must continue to compare Him to Jesus Christ, and Christ to him. It is because we take Islam seriously. It is because many in Christendom continue to defect to Muhammad as a modern-day Saviour for the world's ills.
Such was the case of one Martin Lings in the last century. On the jacket of the book he wrote about the Arabian prophet, it is said,
"Martin Lings was a renowned British scholar [who] studied English under [the great Christian apologist] C.S. Lewis, who later became a close friend... his friendship and similar beliefs with philosophers Rene Guenon and Frithjof Schuon inspired Lings to convert to Islam."
Actually, he and his friends converted to Sufism, Islamic in origin but a minority group in that religion, focusing on the inner life and not the political turmoil created by pure Islam. Not being in the political arena of Islam he was able to pick and choose from his sources those things that make Muhammad look like a good and fair man. Almost no mention is made of the Koran's startling differences from Christianity, and not all that much about religious differences with the Jews.
Nevertheless, he was a follower of Muhammad, and his book reads as a heroic tale of one he considered to be the last of prophets and the best of men. I chose his biography to study Muhammad, because it was stated that he had used the oldest sources for the study of Muhammad's life, and because it was hailed as the "best biography of the Prophet in English." The reviews I read confirmed this opinion.
So why read a book so blessed by Muslims when trying to find a way to compare the man to the very Son of God? My thought was simply that by using Lings, no one could accuse me of prejudice when I showed point by point that Jesus is far better in every way, and deserving of a hearing that Muhammad does not deserve. If I take the best that Islam has to offer, lionized by the best English biographer he ever had, and Jesus still shines greater than Muhammad, then surely Jesus is to be followed, and Muhammad refused.
So it must be understood that Lings is my Muhammadan source throughout, and his sources are the oldest and most reliable. Names like Ibn Ishaq, Ibn Sa'd, Waqidi, Azraqi, Tabari, Suhayli, and eight traditionists of the ninth century, are quoted with reverence by the skilled author.
My source for the life and message of Jesus is far simpler. I will refer only to the writings of apostles and their associates, as recorded in the New King James version of the Holy Bible. Occasional references to the Old Covenant prophets will be in order also.
So, our word against theirs? Not really, though at the human level it will seem so to some. But in addition, it is our faith that the sheep of Jesus hear His Voice. That Voice is echoed in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who guides His true disciples into all the truth. In the Divine sense, it is their word against God Himself.
"He who knows God hears us. He who is not of God does not hear us," says John. It's that simple. Yet the apostles took it seriously, this defending of the faith. Though they believed in the inner working of the Spirit of God to guide them, they continued to teach in real words, messages, sermons, letters, to people who took in those words and evaluated, discerned, believed them.