This blog focuses on the differences between Christianity and Islam. Of course, when talking to Muslims, it is often best to discuss similarities of the two religions in order to build a bridge of communication. However, at some point, the truth starts standing out and can no longer be suppressed. Yet these issues need to be handled with reverence and respect (1 Peter 3:15). Sometimes these distinctives are not caused by an issue of doctrine. Instead, they occur because characters on the two opposing sides of the grand eternal spiritual struggle are referenced identically. The hero is called the villain and the villain is called the hero. To see this in action, consider the one who is entitled “The King of kings”.
In the abstract, the title “King of kings” refers to an absolute ruler. It indicates complete and utter sovereignty, such as the kind that God alone possesses. Thus, in the New Testament the title “King of kings” is given to the only one worthy of it, God. Sometimes the title refers to God the Father, such as this reference from 1 Timothy 6:14-16.
14 that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which He will bring about at the proper time—He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.
Other times the title “King of kings” refers to God the Son. These references appear in the book of Revelation, where Jesus is fully revealed as the King of kings (Revelation 17:14). This title of King of kings is so important, it will even be inscribed on His garments when he returns to earth (Revelation 19:16).
At this time when the true King of kings is being more fully revealed, massive events are underway. A great battle will occur and the unholy trinity of Satan, the beast, and the false prophet will be dealt with. The beast and false prophet will be thrown alive into the lake of fire (Revelation 19:20). Satan will also be thrown into the lake of fire after being bound for a 1,000 years (Revelation 20:2, Revelation 20:10). As the enemy of God, Satan is constantly trying to undermine God’s purposes. Yet his doom is guaranteed when the King of kings, the Almighty Sovereign, hands Satan his ultimate defeat. From Satan’s point of view, this Sovereignty of God must be the most terrifying aspect of God.
So what does any of this have to do with Islam? As it happens, in Islam the King of kings is a name that carries a much different connotation. While the term never appears in the Qur’an itself, it does appear in the Hadith, the traditions of Muhammad. In Sahih Bukhari, the most trusted and reliable Hadith collection within Islam, we learn something about Allah. Here is what Muhammad says about Allah and the name “king of kings”.
Allah’s Apostle said, “The most awful name in Allah’s sight on the Day of Resurrection, will be (that of) a man calling himself Malik Al-Amlak (the king of kings).” [i]
Within Islam, the most odious and fearful name from Allah’s point of view is the one calling himself the King of kings. It’s also written within the Islamic literature that Allah’s wrath will be targeted at the one calling himself the King of kings. From another well respected Hadith collection, Sahih Muslim,
Abu Huraira reported from Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) so many ahadith and one of them was this that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: The most wretched person in the sight of Allah on the Day of Resurrection and the worst person and target of His wrath would of the person who is called Malik al-Amlak (the King of Kings) for there is no king but Allah. [ii]
Let’s recap. From the Christian point of view, Satan is the enemy of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is God who alone who holds the title “King of kings.” In the end times Satan will target his wrath at the King of kings, who is God. Yet Satan is in terror at this name because by it his plans to battle God will be thwarted. Conversely, from the Islamic point of view, it is Allah who despises this name “King of kings” and it is toward the one calling himself this title that Allah will pour out his wrath.
So exactly who is it that despises the one calling himself “King of kings?” Is it Allah or Satan?