A Brief Explanation of the Trinity
James M. Arlandson
What is the doctrine of the Trinity all about, anyway? Why do Christians hold to it? Where does it come from? What does it teach? Why does not Islam teach it? This article addresses these questions and more.
As for Islam, Muhammad promises a painful punishment (i.e. hell) for Christians who believe in the Trinity:
5:73 Those people who say that God is the third of three are defying [the truth]: there is only One God. If they persist in what they are saying, a painful punishment will afflict those who defy [the truth] (MAS Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an, Oxford UP, 2004)
He goes on to say in the context that Jesus was only a human messenger (v. 75). Also, Christians follow the whims of those who have gone astray before them (v. 77). Clearly, Muhammad will not tolerate disagreement with his own doctrine, and he also fails to understand the Trinity in his "third of three" wording. For more information on Muhammad’s verbal confusion in this verse, go here, and scroll down to point no. 3.
Next, Muhammad wishes damnation or puts a curse on Christians for believing that the Messiah is the Son of God:
9:30 [T]he Christians say: "The Messiah is the son of Allah." That is their statement, by their own mouths; they emulate the statement of the unbelievers of yore. May Allah damn [curse] them; how they are perverted. (Majid Fakhry, An Interpretation of the Qur’an, NYUP, 2000, 2004)
This verse follows Muhammad’s declaration of war on the Byzantine Christians (Sura 9:29), against whom he launched his own Crusades to the north, with thirty-thousand jihadists in AD 630. He must make the "perverted" Christians no better than "the unbelievers of yore" or aforetime, who include polytheists. Be that as it may, one of the odd features of Muhammad’s beliefs is his assertion that Jesus is the Messiah. He does not understand the full importance of this title, but he accepts it, even though the New Testament, specifically the Gospel of Matthew, connects the Sonship of Jesus with his Messiahship (Matthew 16:16-17). See this article on Muhammad’s confusion in Sura 9:30.
Once again, these verses show, historically speaking, that Muhammad picked up fragments and scraps of ideas about Christianity, here and there along the trade routes, in a haphazard way. Muhammad did not have a qualified Christian to explain this doctrine to him.
Besides being intolerant, Muhammad, the self-declared and self-described human messenger (Sura 3:144), is confused.
To clarify the doctrine of the Trinity, we follow the format of asking common questions and answering them. Links are also provided so the reader can explore these answers more thoroughly.