Tough Questions Answered

A Christian Apologetics Blog

What Did Thomas Aquinas Have to Say about Islam?

Post Author: Bill Pratt

Between AD 1258 and 1264, Thomas Aquinas wrote Summa contra Gentiles, a book at least partially aimed at arguing for the truth of Christianity against the falsehood of Islam.  Recall that Islam was founded and spread in the seventh century, about 600 years before Thomas wrote.

In an interesting section of book I, Thomas argues that the veracity of the miracle accounts in the Bible are supported by the successful spread of Christianity around the world.  In essence, he is saying, “How else could Christianity be so successful unless the miracle accounts were true?”  Here is Thomas in his own words:

This wonderful conversion of the world to the Christian faith is the clearest witness of the signs given in the past; so that it is not necessary that they should be further repeated, since they appear most clearly in their effect. For it would be truly more wonderful than all signs if the world had been led by simple and humble men to believe such lofty truths, to accomplish such difficult actions, and to have such high hopes. Yet it is also a fact that, even in our own time, God does not cease to work miracles through His saints for the confirmation of the faith.

Thomas points out that given the humble roots of Christianity, it would be more miraculous for the religion to have spread without miracles than with them.  The miracles of Jesus and his apostles provide a reason for the initial spread of Christianity.

Thomas then goes on to differentiate the success of Christianity with the success of Islam.  He argues that Muhammad offered no miracles to prove he was from God, and that his sole appeal was based on the carnal pleasures he offered his followers, including military power.  Here again is Thomas:

On the other hand, those who founded sects committed to erroneous doctrines proceeded in a way that is opposite to this, The point is clear in the case of Muhammad. He seduced the people by promises of carnal pleasure to which the concupiscence of the flesh goads us. His teaching also contained precepts that were in conformity with his promises, and he gave free rein to carnal pleasure. In all this, as is not unexpected, he was obeyed by carnal men. As for proofs of the truth of his doctrine, he brought forward only such as could be grasped by the natural ability of anyone with a very modest wisdom. Indeed, the truths that he taught he mingled with many fables and with doctrines of the greatest falsity. He did not bring forth any signs produced in a supernatural way, which alone fittingly gives witness to divine inspiration; for a visible action that can be only divine reveals an invisibly inspired teacher of truth.

On the contrary, Muhammad said that he was sent in the power of his arms—which are signs not lacking even to robbers and tyrants. What is more, no wise men, men trained in things divine and human, believed in him from the beginning, Those who believed in him were brutal men and desert wanderers, utterly ignorant of all divine teaching, through whose numbers Muhammad forced others to become his followers by the violence of his arms.

Thomas makes some important distinctions between Islam and Christianity based on their respective beginnings.  It is paramount for all of us to understand these differences as we increasingly dialogue with the world about Islam.


About The Author

Comments

  • OC Apologist – On Christ Apologetics

    Thanks for sharing these Thomas Aquinas quotes. It’s great to see the historical perspective from this post. I think it’s easy for us to forget that the challenges against Christ in the modern day world are not that far different from what has been around for centuries and that we can learn from fellow believers that have gone before us.

    I’m also currently writing about Islam on my blog and I’ll be sure to make a link to this post.

    Peace in Christ,
    Andy

  • Bill Pratt

    Thanks, Andy. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Mohammed

    In the name of God, the most beneficent, the most merciful…

    some food for thought….

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8674951077890290774

  • Muhammad

    Hi Brad,

    Actually there are many miracles attributed to Prophet Muhammad…but the one miracle that is most important is the Qur’an…..the Qur’an could not have been written by a man…it is impossible….

    the fact that there are no real contradictions in the Qur’an, the ample of verses talking accurately about modern science, the amazing prophesies that have turned out true in the Qur’an such as the beginning of Chapter 30 in the Qur’an, the linguistic masterpiece of the Qur’an (please go to Hamza Tzortzis website for this), the many prophesies of Jesus (pbuh) and Old Testament prophets about Muhammad (pbuh), the perfect life of Prophet Muhammad…he is probably the only person in history who came back to conquer his pagan enemies but forgave them instead of killing them for the tortures and killings and persecution they did of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) when he preached goodness by believing and worshipping 1 God and being good.

    Thanks and Peace

  • omid

    Thanks for sharing these Thomas Aquinas quotes but ONE THING THAT HE SAID IS UPSOLOTLY WRONG AND HE IS FUCKING DEAK HEAD WHY WOULD HE LIE HE SAID THAT “Muhammad forced others to become his followers by the violence of his arms.”
    AS A MUSLIM boy I SAY THAT HE IS SLAYER AND HOW CAN HE SAY SOMETHING LIKE THAT ABOUT Prophet Muhammad. sorry my English is not good but i had to say that because i’m not letting anyone who can lie about Prophet Muhammad.
    i am very very agree with with ” hi brad”

  • omid

    thanks brother for writing this im very agree with u

  • omid

    peace in ISLAM

  • ser

    I was a muslim. When i read quran i became an atheist.
    There isn’t any miracle in Quran. People change the meaning of aword or directly chance the meaning. Please control translation many times. All muslim references books Rabbani or gazali and mostly Quran distorted. it is written by a man, and most of it copied from bible.

SEO Powered by Platinum SEO from Techblissonline