Muslims from North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia were present in London in the 16th Century, working as translators and diplomats. Today, Islam is the second largest religious
group in the UK. I wonder how much we know about this ancient faith.

As part of his Christian Theology course, Tony was tasked to conduct an interview with a practicing member of a religious tradition different to mine. He chose to interview a Muslim – Mr Olum. He discovered, among many other things, the following:


To be a Muslim is first and foremost to believe that Allah is the only true God. Mohammad is Allah’s messenger as well as the last prophet who came down to earth.

Islam and Judaisum

Allah and the God of Abraham, the one worshiped by Christians are in their view one and the same god. Muslims respect the prophets of Judaism – like Elijah and King David – and they see the books of the Law and the Old Testament as divinely inspired. However, Muslims see the Quran as their central authority. It is believed to be the direct word of God.


All one needs to do to convert to Islam is to voluntarily recite an oral declaration of faith known as ‘Shahada’ declaring total submission to Allah and commitment to follow the Islamic way of life. Shahada is basically a declaration testifying that there is no other god but Allah and that Mohammad is his only Prophet.


Prayer in Islam is an obligation of faith to be carried out five times daily by every adult. Known as salat it is a key obligation of the Islamic faith and serves to unite Muslims all over the world. Salat consists of five distinct prayers dictated by the position of the sun being Fajir at sunrise, Dhuhr at noon, Asr in late afternoon, Maghrib at sunset and Isha before retiring to bed.


Fasting is observed during the holy month of Ramadan where the faithful aim to detach themselves from material pleasures in favour of being close to God.

Other Religions

Love and tolerance of other faiths were considered an essential aspect of Islam.

Further Thoughts from Raymond

How should we think about Islam?

To pray faithfully five times a day is a challenging spiritual regime, and we should certainly respect those who put God first in their schedule to such an extent.

How can Muslims claim to respect other faiths when so much violence is carried out in the name of Islam?

There is a radical Islam which has shed blood all over the world. But it does not speak for the whole Islamic faith. As Christians, we would not want to be associated with the terrible acts carried out by the Spanish Inquisition; nor was every self-declared “Protestant” or “Catholic” who carried a gun during the Ulster troubles a representative of the church Christ came to found.

Should we agree that Allah and the God of Christianity are the same?

The Bible defines God as “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” That is precisely the thing that Islam denies.

What is one of the biggest difference between Islam and Christianity?

The prayer Jesus taught his disciples invites us to call God, our Father. This is not one of the 99 names for God in Islam. Only in Jesus do we find a Father.