The Muslims regard the Christians as being of two types:
1 –Those who believed in Jesus (peace be upon him) at the time of Jesus or after him, before the coming of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). They are righteous believers who believed in the Oneness of God (Tawheed); they believed that Jesus was a great Messenger who was sent by God, and they believed in other Messengers such as Abraham and Moses.
As for those who believed in Jesus (peace be upon him) then believed in Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), they are of a high status, and will have a double reward, as our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said.
2 – Those who deviated from Tawheed (pure monotheism) and believed that Jesus was God or the son of God, or they devoted some forms of worship to him such as prayer and supplication. This is going against the teachings of Jesus and other Messengers, and following the distortions that the priests and monks introduced into the true religion that was brought by Jesus from God.
Similarly, those who heard the Message of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) but did not believe in it or follow him, are going against the way of the Muslims and are going against the teachings of Jesus (peace be upon him), because he foretold the coming of his brother Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
This opinion about the Christians is well established and does not stem from the Crusades or the oppression of the colonialists and their aggression against Muslim lands. If anyone rejects the message of Jesus (peace be upon him) or the message of Moses (peace be upon him) or the message of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), he is a kaafir (disbeliever). If anyone denies that this Qur’aan was revealed from God, or mocks it, he is a kaafir, because the Qur'aan was revealed from Allaah.
As for jihad, it will remain in effect until the Day of Resurrection. Its aim is to spread the call of truth to all of mankind and free man from the oppressive forces that conceal the light from him and prevent him from thinking about the truth, and subject him to rules that go against the rulings of God. The aim of jihad is not to force anyone to enter Islam, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“There is no compulsion in religion”
What you mention about the Lord and God and the Creator indicates that your fitrah (basic human nature) and your reasoning are sound. This is what the Muslims believe. The Lord is God (Allaah) and He is the Creator; there is no creator but Him and no lord but Him, and no one deserves to be worshipped except Him. The Creator, the Provider, the Controller, is Allaah, besides Whom there is no other god, and it is not permissible for us to worship anyone but Him. This God cannot be like a human being, having a son or a wife; exalted be Allaah above that.
Moreover, this God cannot be incarnated in human form, eating, drinking, feeling hunger and thirst, being beaten and crucified.
Muslim belief is easy and is in accordance with reason and logic: there is a Creator and created beings. The Creator is Allaah, may He be exalted, and the created things are everything besides Him, heavens, earth, sun, moon, humans and jinn. By His Mercy, Allaah sent Messengers to mankind, to call them to Allaah and show them the right way. Among these Messengers were Nooh (Noah), Ibraaheem (Abraham), Moosa (Moses), ‘Eesa (Jesus) and Muhammad, may the blessings and peace of Allaah be upon them all. Allaah supported these Messengers with signs, which were miraculous things, the like of which other people could not produce, which were appropriate to the time and place in which each Messenger was sent. Some were thrown into the fire and not harmed by it, such as Ibraaheem (Abraham); some brought the dead back to life and healed the sick by Allaah’s Leave, such as ‘Eesa (Jesus); one was given the Qur’aan and challenged all the most eloquent Arabs to produce a single soorah like it, but they could not do it. That was Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Allaah caused inanimate objects and animals to speak to him, and the stone in his hand glorified Allaah, and the camel complained to him about being given too much work to do, and there were many other miracles.
If the wise man thinks about what is keeping the Christians from believing that Jesus (peace be upon him) was a Messenger from God, and that he is like Abraham, Zacharias and John (peace be upon them), this will put an end to the problem, as reason is in agreement with the fitrah (sound human nature) and revelation. Jesus (peace be upon him) called people to God and foretold the coming of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). His enemies tried to kill him, but God saved him and he was not crucified or killed, rather one of his companions was caused to look like him, as the Qur’aan says (interpretation of the meaning):
“but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but it
appeared so to them the resemblance of ‘Eesa (Jesus) was put over another
man (and they killed that man)”
They all believe that Allaah (God) is the Lord and Creator, the only One to be worshipped, and they believe in His noble Messengers such as Ibraaheem, Moosa, ‘Eesa and Muhammad, may the blessing and peace of Allaah be upon them all. Then they follow the law of the last of them, the Final Messenger, Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
There is no comparison between the simplicity of this belief and its affinity with sound human nature, and the confusion and contradictions that exist in Christian belief, but we will give just one example, which is the issue of the crucifixion and redemption.
The Christians always say that God sent His only son to relieve mankind of sin, and they regard that as an example of mercy and justice. But we ask them: What kind of justice and what kind of mercy is it for God to punish His only son – as they claim – for sin that he did not commit?!
What justice is there in passing the sin of Adam to his children, then saying that they need to expiate it?
What justice and mercy is there in delaying the expiation of this sin for thousands of years, from Adam until the time of Jesus (peace be upon him)?
What justice and mercy is there in making the expiation dependent upon crucifixion, pain and suffering, when it could be expiated, according to the Jews, by means of repentance and sacrifice?
When the Christians believed in the crucifixion, they wanted to lift from the Messiah the dreadful shame which accompanies crucifixion, which is the curse, so they claimed that crucifixion was actually an honour and the ultimate aim of the Messiah’s mission.
See: Deuteronomy 21:23, in which it says that anyone who is hung on a tree – crucified – is under God’s curse.
Undoubtedly believing in the Christian doctrine of the crucifixion and redemption implies a number of false things, including the following:
1-That the previous Prophets and righteous servants of God were all doomed, because their sins were not expiated before they died.
2-That the Jews must be the most blessed of people and superior to the Christians and all others, because it was at their hands that this great aim was achieved, namely the crucifixion of the Messiah!
3-That people may indulge freely in evil and sin, safe from the punishment of God, because all sins have been expiated for them, and God will forgive them all their sins, as they claim.
4-If the Messiah was crucified by his own choice, as they say, then why did he cry out after the crucifixion, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34).
Finally, we ask Allaah to help you in your research about Islam and guide you and open your heart to the truth and help you to follow it wherever it is. We hope that what we have mentioned will provide answers to your questions, even though the subjects that you mentioned require much more detail than this. But we will be happy to remain in touch with you and answer any of your questions.
And Allaah knows best.