Christianity and Islam aretwo very widespread religious concepts that play a considerable part in thedaily lives of its believers. They both originated from the Middle East and havemultiple similarities in belief, practices and teachings. They are both monotheisticreligions meaning that they only believe in andworship one God. Though these tworeligions possess many similarities, there is a clear difference in thefoundation of their beliefs. Christianity is a religion that started out as aJewish belief and is seen as an Abrahamic religion, its followers are referredto as Christians. They believe in the Holy Trinity, God the Father, God the Sonand God the Holy Spirit, all three Gods in one.
They also believe that themessiah, Jesus Christ, came in the form of man and was referred to as the Sonof God born to the Virgin Mary, suffered, died and resurrected to cleanse themof their sins. It is also believed that he would return to reward those whohave lived according to the doctrines taught by the Holy Bible, their religiousbook. Islam is also anAbrahamic religion that believes in the complete submission to the almighty God(Allah) and Prophet Muhammad, the last and final prophet. The Holy Quran is theirreligious book and it is seen as a guideline for the Muslims who are thefollowers of the Islamic religion. It is believed that Allah revealed the HolyQuran to Prophet Muhammad verbally through the Angel Jibrail (Gabriel) and theoriginal Arabic version is the final revelation from God. Muslims, do notbelieve that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, according to them it is almostblasphemy to associate God with having a son or a daughter or a helper of anykind, the basis of their worship is that there is no god but Allah, they alsodo not believe that Jesus Christ was crucified. In actuality their belief isthat Jesus Christ was a Prophet of his time and was sent by God with the Injeel(Bible) to spread the teachings of Islam much like Prophet Muhammad who cameafter him with the Holy Quran, the final word of God. They also believe thatthe Prophet Jesus would return to lead them in prayer and those Christians whoare the true believers of Jesus Christ would pay heed to his message.
SomeMuslims also believe that the prophet Jesus would come back to destroy theanti-Christ, but much like Christianity, there are also many different sects ofIslam with many different teachings and beliefs which may stem from differentcultural backgrounds or different interpretation of the same holy book. Now it is clearthat both religions differ greatly in their foundation and they both contradicteach other’s core belief. However, there are still many correlative practicesthat exists between these two religions. For example, both religions have asymbolization of purification and admission into the faith.
For Christians itis referred to as Baptism. It is the religious rite of sprinkling water on to aperson’s forehead or of immersing them in water. This symbolizes regenerationand admission to the Christian faith. They also believe that it cleanses aperson of original and personal sin. In most sects of Christianity, baptism isperformed on young children and is accompanied by name-giving which is commonlyknown as christening. Similarly, inIslam an individual takes Shahadah. This is known as a Muslim’s profession offaith where they proclaim “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his thelast messenger of Allah”.
For children it is referred to as an Aqiqah, which isa celebratory ceremony where a sheep is sacrificed and then the meat is cookedand distributed to the poor almost as the baby’s first act of charity. Shahadahis seen as one of the five pillars of Islam. These Five pillars are, the professionof faith (shahadah), fasting (sawm), prayer (salaat), pilgrimage (hadj/hajj)and charity (zakat). These core practicesalso carry much significance in the Christian teachings, such as fasting. During the seasonof Lent Christians fast by abstaining from food, water or earthly pleasures,for forty days ad forty nights as a means of seeking nearness to God and beingmore spiritually aware. At the end of the Lenten season Christians thencelebrate Easter which honors the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
It is custom insome parts of the world to celebrate Easter by going to church and cookingspecial meals. Similarly, duringthe Month of Ramadhan, the eighth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, Muslimsalso fast for twenty nine or thirty days. However, their manner of fasting is abit more specific, in that, they abstain from food, water and sex from dawntill dusk when they break their fast. Throughout this time Muslims attempt topay more attention to performing acts of good deeds such as giving charity,another pillar in Islam and also another practice highly encouraged in theteachings of Christianity. At the end of the holy month of Ramadhan, Muslimsobserve Eid- Ul- Fitr, which celebrates the revelation of the Holy Quran, whichmost Muslims complete reading during the month of fasting.
Both Eid-Ul-Fitr andEaster seen as religious holidays in most countries. Another practice isprayer, which is if not one of the most important aspects of life. It is themeans by which one communicates with their creator.
Christian prayer is verydiverse, it can be completely spontaneous or read entirely from a text. The most common prayer among Christians is the “Lord’sPrayer”, which according to the gospel accounts is how Jesus taught hisdisciples to pray. The belief that Jesus gave his life to create a unitedpeople encourages the practice of Christians to assemble in their place ofworship, a church, to pray to their lord and savior Jesus Christ. It is customthat these prayer and worship assemblies are conducted on a Sunday and istraditionally lead by a pastor, a Christian religious leader. Onthe other hand prayer in Islam is much more structured. It is compulsory inIslam for men and women, form the ages of nine and sixteen respectively, topray five times every day. These prayer have names and specific times in whichthey are to be performed.
One prayer in the morning (fadj), two prayers in theafternoon (zuhr and asr) and two prayers in the evening (mugrib and isha ). Prayer in congregation however, is also verymuch encouraged in Islam. It is custom for Muslims to congregate in the mosqueon a Friday, which they refer to as Jummah, and pray together. It is alsobelieved that reason Friday is observed as their day of worship lead by theImam of the mosque is because the Day of Judgment is said to be on a Friday. Pilgrimagefor both Christians and Muslims refer to a meaningful journey to a sacredplace.
For most Christians they visit Jerusalem, Bethlehem and other places inIsrael that are read about in the scriptures and this , they consider an act ofpilgrimage.Similarly,Muslims visit the city of Mecca, where it is believed that the Holy ProphetMuhammad was born. At this pilgrimage thousands of Muslims and even Non-Muslimsmake what they call Hijrah. Forthose who get the opportunity, making hijrah is an honor.
It consist of manyrituals such a walking around the kaaba and calling the names of your lovedones for the forgiveness of their sins.Thekaaba is belived to be the first altar ever created hence Muslims pray in thedirection of the kaaba at all times. Anothervery prominent practice of the Muslim community is that Muslim women must dressmodestly and cover their heads with what they call a hijab. Though , inChristianity there this no teaching of covering the heads of their women, thebible does make mention of women’s modesty in Timothy 2:9 of the new testamentof the bible “Also that the women should dress modestly and decently in the suitableclothing, not with their hair braided , or with gold , pearls or expensiveclothes”. Islam however is very specific pertaining to thecovering of women as stated in An-Nur (the light) 24:31 of the Holy Quran “And tell thebelieving women to reduce some of their vision and guard their private partsand not expose their adornment except that which necessarily appears thereofand to wrap a portion of their headcovers over their chests and not exposetheir adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’sons, their sisters’ sons, their women, that which their right hands possess,or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yetaware of the private aspects of women. And let them not stamp their feet tomake known what they conceal of their adornment. And turn to Allah inrepentance, all of you, O believers that you might succeed.
” Their women dress modestly with their hijabwhich they describe as the flag of Islam they believe that the women are thephysical representation of Islam, they are the face of Islam. Their hijab,hijab meaning covering, is meant to cover their hair, their necks, theirbreasts and some believe their ears as well. But hijab isn’t limited to justthe covering of the head, it also refers to the covering of their body in theclothes that they wear. When a girl reaches the age of nine the hijab iscompulsory for her to wear and the only persons that are to see her without hercovering are women, her brother, her father, her husband and those that arespecified in the holy Quran. UltimatelyIslam and Christianity are the two leading religions in the world. They share manycommon origins, concepts and beliefs, such as God being the supreme being aswell as there being messengers sent by God to teach the ways and practicesordained by God for men.
Thoughtheir books are different, believed to have been brought to the earth by eitherthe messiah or the prophet, the Bible and the Quran are two holy books believedto be written through God’s inspiration. The two religions may possess majordifferences such as the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the belief thathe is a Prophet as well as the originality of the holy bible in comparison tothat of the Holy Quran, however the similarities between these two religiousconcepts far outweighs their differences which should allow both Muslims andChristians to coexist peacefully.