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Practices of Worship

1.  Jesus purified himself with washing prior to prayer, as was the practice of the
pious prophets who preceded him (see Exodus 40:31­32 in reference to Moses
and Aaron), and as is the practice of Muslims.
2.  Jesus prayed in prostration (Matthew 26:39), like the other prophets (see
Nehemiah 8:6 with regard to Ezra and the people, Joshua 5:14 for Joshua,
Genesis 17:3 and 24:52 for Abraham, Exodus 34:8 and Numbers 20:6 for Moses
and Aaron). Who prays like that, Christians or Muslims?
3.  Jesus fasted for more than a month at a time (Matthew 4:2 and Luke 4:2), as
did the pious before him (Exodus 34:28, 1 Kings 19:8). So who follows the
example of Jesus, if not those who annually fast the month of Ramadan?
4.  Jesus made pilgrimage for the purpose of worship, as all Orthodox Jews
aspire to do. In his day pilgrimage was to Jerusalem (Acts 8:26­28). Muslims, if
able, make pilgrimage to Makkah (more familiar to many by its alternate
spelling, Mecca) as directed by Allah in the Holy Qur’an. Should Christians have
difficulty accepting the change of pilgrimage sites, Muslims cite Matthew 21:42­
43. In Matthew 21:42 Jesus reminded his followers of Psalm 118:22­23 as
follows: “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief
cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.”
Matthew 21:43 then records Jesus as having predicted, “Therefore I say to
you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the
fruits of it.”

The first quote references “the rejected,” who for two thousand years have
been understood by Jews and Christians alike to be the Ishmaelites—the bloodline
of Muhammad and the majority of the Arab Muslims. Jesus foretells the kingdom
of God being taken from the Jews and given to a more deserving nation. Muslims
assert that no people could be more deserving than those who embrace the
teachings and follow the example of all the prophets, Jesus and Muhammad
Furthermore, Muslims point out that Makkah is not without mention in the
Bible. Makkah is pronounced “Bakka” in one of the Arabic dialects. Thus, the
Holy Qur’an mentions “Makkah” by name in one passage (48:24) and as “Bakka”
in another verse, which reads, “The first house (of worship) appointed for men
was that at Bakka; full of blessing and of guidance for all kinds of beings” (TMQ
3:96). Psalm 84:5­6 provides the remarkable link between Old Testament and
Qur’an: “Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on
pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a spring …”
The sacred “spring” of the well of Zamzam in Bakka/Makkah is well known.
Additionally, as noted in the form of an editor’s comment in Edward Gibbon’s
work, “Mecca cannot be the Macoraba of Ptolemy; the situations do not agree,
and till the time of Mahomet, it bore the name of Becca, or the House, from its
celebrated temple. It is so called even in some parts of the Koran.”



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