Shia, Sunni, Sufi—do Muslims believe in the same God, despite their theological differences? And if it can be argued on the basis of Islamic principles and reasoning that they do, perhaps that might shed some light on how Christians might approach the same question with reference to themselves: “Do Christians believe in the same God?” It’s not at all obvious that they, we, do. Just compare the Thomist, Barthian, Moltmannian, and Palamite understandings of Incarnation and Trinity. Yet we Christians stubbornly cling to the conviction we really do worship the same transcendent Creator, despite evidence to the contrary.
I have found this paper by Dr Reza Shah-Kazemi, Research Associate at the Institute of Ismaili Studies, to be fascinating and challenging. The author identifies some interesting possibilities for inter-faith dialogue.
I especially appreciate Shah-Kazemi’s insistence that while Muslims and Christians disagree at what might be described the theological level, they share belief in the one God at the metaphysical level: “Muslims and Christians do indeed believe in the same God, insofar as the ultimate referent of their belief is That to which the word ‘God’ metaphysically refers: the transcendent Absolute, ultimate Reality, the unique source of Being.”
And after you have read this essay, then run over to Dr Edward Feser’s blog and read his article “Christians, Muslims, and the Reference of ‘God’.”