Islam versus Christianity

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic
A comparision of Islam versus Christianity.

Submitted: March 14, 2012

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Submitted: March 14, 2012



The Basics: Christianity is the world’s largest religion with about 2 billion followers. Christianity is founded in the life and teachings of Jesus, and was established in Jerusalem and propagated throughout the Roman Empire in the 1st century B.C. by enthusiastic evangelists. The followers of Christianity would most likely speak Hebrew, Aramaic, and/or Greek. It is commonly accepted that Jesus and his disciples spoke Aramaic, but also knew Hebrew. Also a common symbol used in Christianity is the vacant cross to remind worshipers of Jesus dying to deliver them from sins and rising to conquer death.

Islam is the world’s second largest religion with about 1.3 billion followers. Islam was founded in 662 AD by Muhammad on the Arabian Peninsula. It was founded in the language of Arabic. Many Muslims still speak Arabic as their first language because the Qur’an is in Arabic and it is very difficult to get a direct translation from the Arabic language. The most common symbol for Islam is the moon and star. Originally the symbol was used in Ancient Central Asia and Siberia to worship there sky, moon, and sun gods. When the Turks conquer Constantinople in 1453 they adopted the existing city’s flag and symbol. Legend has the founder of the Ottoman Empire had a dream in which the crescent moon stretched over the Earth. Thinking it was a good omen he made the crescent a symbol of his dynasty and the five pointed star was later added representing the five pillars of Islam. However, many Muslims reject this symbol.

Places of Worship: The Christian Church is an assembly of followers of Jesus Christ. Traditionally there are considered three “requirements” of a tradition church; unity, holiness, and acceptance of the teaching of Jesus. Even though Christian churches are split into different denominations mainly because of governmental arguments and Bible interpretations, all Christians share the belief in Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God.

The Muslim Mosques are defined as a place of submission to Allah. Along with serving as a place of prayer, they also are used as a center for information, education, and dispute settlements. In some mosques politics are also preached while in others it is illegal for the imam, the leader of the church, to mention politics.

Worship and Prayer: Most Christian Churches hold services on Sundays. Before Jesus and in the time of Jesus church was held on Saturday, but because of the common occurrence of holy events, such as the resurrection, preaching of Jesus, and the descent of the Holy Spirit all on Sundays, Christians gradually recognized Sunday as the Holy Day. Some churches also meet on Wednesdays.

On the other hand, Muslims worship at the mosques on Fridays because Muhammad ordered it to be so. Often it is thought that Friday was chosen because it came before Saturday the day of worship for the Jews and Sunday the day of worship for many Christians.

In the Bible it is never really specified how many times or when to pray. Common prayer practices are before meals, before bed, upon awakening, times of stress, or praise. Common prayers are the Lord’s Prayer, a Creed depending on denomination, a Serenity prayer, Pslams 23 guidance prayer, and “Now I lay me down to sleep.” Originally prayers were done on knees with clasp or palm against palm hand postures although, several instances are in the Bible of people raising their hands looking upward and shouting praises. Style of prayer is mainly a personal choice

Muslims are required by the Five Pillars to pray five times a day. Their prayers are called Salah. These Salahs have to be said in certain positions with certain words at certain times. However, those who have physical disabilities are excused from some of the prayer positions. The timing of the Salahs are in correspondence to the movement of the sun. These are: near dawn, midday, afternoon, after sunset, around nightfall. Under special circumstances prayers can be shortened or combined. If a prayer is not performed at the right time, it must be performed later.

In the Beginning: A point of major similarity between Islam and Christianity is the Creation Story. In both it is stated that God created the world in six days. In these two verses, one from the Bible and the other from the Qur’an, everything written in blue are the similarities.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth….And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and HE separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night”….He also made the stars. God saw all that HE had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day. ”~ NIV Genesis 1

“Indeed, your Lord is Allah, who created the heavens and the earth in six days then established Himself above the Throne. He covers the night with the day, chasing it rapidly; and [He created] the sun, the moon, and the stars, subjected by His command. Unquestionably, His is the creation and the command; blessed is Allah, Lord of the worlds”.~ Surat Al-A raf 7:54

Divine Beings: Islam and Christianity are alike in the ways in which they see God as an all-powerful being.

In the Christian religion, God is an ultimate being; one in three bodies, the trinity; the father or mother who judges the living and the dead, the son, Jesus who died on the cross to for the sins of the world, and the holy spirit, the constant companion. Each part of the Trinity is part of God, but the Father isn’t the Son or the Holy Spirit. Likewise the Son isn’t the Father or the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit isn’t the Son or the Father.

The Islam religion does not believe in the trinity, but they do believe in the idea of one all-knowing powerful God or in Arabic, Allah. Other divine beings in the Islamic religion include jinns, which are intelligent unseen spirits made by Allah out of fire that can either work for good or evil. The disbelieving jinn not following the ways of Allah are called devils.

Christians believe that demons are evil spirits controlled or following a fallen angel called Lucifer, the devil, and Satan. It is also believed that angels are righteous followers of God that live in the eternal kingdom of heaven and follow God’s orders sometimes leading them to act upon Earth.

In the Christian and Islam religions, the exact way how demons and angels became to be and how they exist is controversial, because demons and angels are not often seen by people in everyday life. In the both religions Muhammad, Virgin Mary, followers, and prophets are visited by angels sent by God.

Prophets/Disciples: According to both religions, Adam was the first man one earth. The Muslims considered him to be a prophet along with Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. To Muslims, all of them were sent by Allah to teach Allah’s people.

In Christianity, several people including those on shown on the PowerPoint were prophets sent to tell of God’s word. However, Jesus Christ was a special prophet, in Christianity, Jesus is the promised Messiah, God’s own son.

Views of Jesus: Jesus Christ, as the son of God, is considered to be part of the trinity; part of God. According to Christianity, he was born to the Virgin Mary and Joseph, conceived by the Holy Spirit, and whose childhood was spent as training and working as a carpenter in the small town of Nazareth. It wasn’t until he was thirty that he began preaching God’s word which often went against many of the beliefs that the Jews have developed. After being tried by Pontius Pilate, Jesus Christ was crucified next to two thieves after being tortured, ridiculed, whipped, and forced to wear a crown of thorns. In Christianity, it is believed this his crucifixion was prophesized and a part of God’s plan to save humans from sins. After Jesus was put in the tomb, it is believed, that he descended into Hell, but rose again so that death isn’t to final answer, but the love of God is. Jesus walked with his disciples for a while, then he ascended into heaven where he is watching down from above until the final judgment day when he will come again.

Islam has a different view of Jesus though. They do believe he was a true prophet of God, born of a virgin, but that he was a prophet of God or Allah, just like any other, and not God’s son. Like other prophets, he performed miracles and spread God’s message. Islam beliefs say that Jesus ascended into heaven, without dying, and will come again one day. This is summoned up in the Qur’an sura 4 (An- Nisa) ayat 157-158, “That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah";- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:-
Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise”

Views on Muhammad: Because of the Bible being written before Muhammad’s birth, the Bible does not say anything specific about him however, the Bible does warn against false prophets which many Christians believe Muhammad was. However, many Christians accept his teachings as righteous, but slightly corrupted especially, when Islam denies Jesus as the Son of God.

Yet, some Christians believe that Muhammad was in fact foretold in the Bible, but that he strayed from God’s will when he declared Jesus not the Son of God.

In the Islam religion, Muhammad is believed to have been a messenger and prophet of God. He is also acknowledged as the last of Islam’s prophets and the one to write the Qur’an . However, Muslims do not worship Muhammad, but they see him simply as a human being.

Salvation/Afterlife: In both Christianity and Islam, it is taught that after life there is more; Heaven or Hell. However, the two religions differ on ideas of how to have or achieve salvation and Heaven. Christianity teachers that Heaven is attainable by believing in God and believing that Jesus died on the cross to remove sinners of their sins. Protestants emphasize that humans can only be saved by faith alone and the loving grace of God who gave God’s Son. Some Catholic denominations also emphasize good deeds are to be done along with faith. That good deeds are a part of faith, but that good deeds cannot save a person alone. The taking of the sacrament and baptism are taught in Christianity of ways of accepting salvation, but not the way of obtaining salvation because Jesus died to save all who believe in him.

Islam teaches that in order to go to Heaven, humans must believe in God, do good deeds, and practice and uphold the Five Pillars of Islam. The first pillar is the Shahada which is the declaration of faith of Allah. The second is to be pray five times a day; in the morning, noon, late afternoon, evening, and at night. The third is to look out for other people by giving to the poor. This is called the Zakat which means to purify or cleanse. It is believed that as the person gives up a share of wealth they become cleansed from selfishness and greed. The Hajj is the pillar in which Muslims have to try to make a pilgrimage to the Ka’aba at least once in their lifetime. During the pilgrimage they have to wear special clothing to represent peace and obedience of God. The effect of the pilgrimage is supposed to be bringing together the Muslim community and strengthen it. The last pillar is the Saum which is the observance of Ramadan. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is special because it was when Muhammad is said to have begun receiving messages from God. During this month Muslims are to fast as a reminder of how difficult it is being poor, hungry, and thirsty and how they should always give thanks by not taking things for granted.

Views of Other Religions: In Christianity it is reached that God loves everyone even those who do not love God and Christians are challenged to do the same. However, Christians differ on their views of how other religions relate to Christianity. Exclusivism is the theological position that centers on the Christ role in the Christian faith. Exclusivism teaches that there is no salvation for those who don’t believe in Christ as the Son of God. Inclusivism is the belief that God is present in non-Christian religions and provides followers of other religions salvation as well as Christians because Jesus died not just for Christians, but for everyone. The third main theological position is Pluralism. Pluralism is the belief that all religions are true and equal in the communication of the truth of God, the world, and salvation as God chose to reveal God’s self to different cultures in different ways. Although this theological view was proposed by a Christian, it is vastly similar to the popular Hindu view captured in the Bhagavagita (Hindu holy book), “By whatsoever way men worship Me, even so do I accept them; for in all ways, mem walk in My path.” (IV. 11)

Islam teaches that Allah loves only those who love Allah and that only those who believe in God and the Last Day, and work righteousness, this includes Jews, Christians, Sabians (followers of John the Baptist), and Muslims.

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