In Maimonides' system there was one point on which Christianity, although idolatrous, actually stood above Islam. The Talmud states that it is forbidden to teach Torah to Gentiles, and this interdiction is clasified as halacha by Maimonides. However, he makes an exception for Christians, because they believe in the same text of the Bible as the Jews and it is thus possible that, after having studied, they will recognize the error of their ways. For Muslims, however, because they do not accept that the five books of Moses are Divine, such a possibility is not to be considered. It is, therefore, forbidden to teach them Torah.<ref>Teshuvot ha-Rambam, ed., Joshua Blau (Jerusalem, 1989), no. 149.</ref>
However from this ruling, one can conclude nothing about the basic worth of Christianity vis-a-vis Islam. The prohibition to teach Torah to Muslims was due to the specific reason cited, and did not speak to any of the broader issues involved in evaluating their religion. In appears that it is Islam that was more favorable in Maimonides' eyes. As we have seen, according to him, both Christianity and Islam have a positive role to play in the world. However, with regard to Islam, despite certain critical comments regarding Muhammed,<ref> A.S. Halkin, ed., Moses Maimonides' Epistle to Yemen (New York, 1952), pp. 14, 36. Maimonides also refers to Muhammad as "the unfit one" (pasul), see Ibid., p. 38. See also Yehuda Shamir, "Allusions to Muhammed in Maimonides' Theory of Prophecy in his Guide," Jewish Quarterly Review 54 (1974): 212-224, and George F. Hourani, "Maimonides and Islam," in William M. Brinner and Stephen D. Ricks, eds., Studies in Islamic and Judaic Traditions (Atlanta, 1986), pp. 153-158; Netanel b. Isaiah, Maor ha-Afelah, ed., Joseph Kafah (Jerusalem, 1957), p. 121; Hayyim Vital as quoted in Saul Cohen, Lehem ha-Bikkurim [reprinted Bnei Brak, 1981], appendix, p. 14.</ref> the fact that Islam is not idolatry creates a crucial distinction between it and Christianity and leads to numerous consequences, both in law and theology. [[David Novak]] argues that this explains Malmonides' belief that Muslims, as sons of Ishmael, are required to circumcize their sons.<ref>Hilchot Melachim 10:8; David Novak, "The Treatment of Islam and Muslims in the Legal Writings of Maimonides," in Brinner and Ricks, Op. cit., pp. 240ff.</ref> Maimonides rules that although a Jew may not obtain benefit from wine handled by a Christian, that is not the case with regard to a Muslim. However, Maimonides does agree with the view of the Geonim that it is still not permissible to drink this wine. According to Maimonides, this ruling was supported by "all the Geonim"<ref>Hilchot Ma'achalot Asurot 11:7; Teshuvot ha- Rambam, no. 269</ref> According to R. Asher of Montanzon<ref>R. Asher of Montanzon (14th century), Sefer ha-Pardes (Jerusalem, 1985), p. 6, </ref> Maimonides saw the works of "all the Geonim." The Radbaz was of the same opinion <ref>R. David ibn Zimra (1479-1573), She'elot u- Teshuvot Radbaz (New York, no date), no. 281, and Azulai, Birkei Yosef, Yoreh Deah 16:3.</ref> However, it is not clear as the the meaning of that this really means "all" as there were Geonim who do not agree with this position<ref>Cf. Tur, Yoreh Deah, 124</ref>, Nahmanides says that "some Geonim" agree with the law as codified by Maimonides.<ref>Nahmanides, Hiddushei ha-Ramban to Avodah Zarah, ed., M. Hershler jerusalem, 1970), column 237</ref> and, as we have already noted, this stringency had nothing to do with Islam per se as a religion but was to prevent socialization with non-Jews generally.
===Ovadiyah the Proselyte===

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