Core9 Essay Research Paper A Comparison of

Core9 Essay, Research Paper A Comparison of Islam and Christianity There are hundreds of religions in this world. Of them two are the mostprominent. Islam and Christianity. It is averaged that there are 750 million peoplepracticing Islam, and another 1 billion practicing Christianity. The start of Islam isactually derived form Christianity, history books indicates that one night in theyear 610, the first of many revelations came to Muhammad from God by way ofthe angel Gabriel (In Christianity this is the same Angel which brings the news ofJesus’ birth, Jesus of course is the founder of Christianity).

Core9 Essay, Research Paper

A Comparison of Islam and Christianity There are hundreds of religions in this world. Of them two are the mostprominent. Islam and Christianity. It is averaged that there are 750 million peoplepracticing Islam, and another 1 billion practicing Christianity. The start of Islam isactually derived form Christianity, history books indicates that one night in theyear 610, the first of many revelations came to Muhammad from God by way ofthe angel Gabriel (In Christianity this is the same Angel which brings the news ofJesus’ birth, Jesus of course is the founder of Christianity). The messageMuhammad received told him that there was but one God (Identical to theinception of the Ten Commandments), not many gods, as most Arabs believed. This God was creator of the world (In Christianity, it’s documented in GenesisChapter 1 verse 1, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth), andHe would one day judge mankind (This is also true in Christianity: “The Lord willjudge his people.” Hebrews 10:30). Both of these religions share almost the sameframework, but they also differ in many ways. The word Islam means “surrender” or “submission,” submission to the willof Allah, the one God. Muslims are those who have submitted themselves. Thebasic creed of Islam is brief: There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is theProphet of Allah. Islam teaches that there is one God, the creator and sustainerof the universe. This God, Allah, is compassionate and just. Because He iscompassionate, He calls all people to believe in Him and worship Him. BecauseHe is also just, on the Last Day He will judge every person according to hisdeeds. On the Last Day, all the dead will be resurrected and either rewarded withheaven or punished with hell. In Christianity one of the Ten Commandmentsstates that “I am the Lord you God… shall have no other gods before me”,also identical to Islam God is considered the creator of the universe, and he isalso just. On the last day, or judgment day, the same holds true as in Islam in theChristian beliefs, the dead will be resurrected and either rewarded with heaven orpunished with hell. Mankind is regarded as the crown of creation, entrusted by God withmanagement of the whole created order. In Christianity this was Adam, who haddominion over all the animals and beasts of the earth. Islam sees humanity asweak and prone to disbelief in God and to disobedience to His will. Humanity’sweakness is pride. In the Christian religion it was pride that caused the downfallof man, Eve thought that God had no right to tell them what they could and couldnot eat. In Islam, God sent prophets to communicate His will. These prophets, allmortal men, were elected messengers to whom God spoke through an angel orby inspiration., identical to Christianity, an example of that was God sendingMoses to free his people out of Pharaohs hands. In Islam, they also believe inforgiveness, another basic Christina principle, Islam teaches that God is alwaysready to pardon the individual and restore him to the sinless state in which hestarted life. In Christianity this is called being “born again”. The life of each Muslim is always within the community of the faithful: Allare declared to be “brothers to each other,” with the mission to “enjoin good andforbid evil.” Within the community, Muslims are expected to establish social andeconomic justice. They are also expected to carry their message out to the rest ofthe world. In the early Islamic community, this meant the use of force in the formof jihad, or holy war. This also happened in the Christian faith, it was known as”Crusades”, where missionaries would go out and spread the word of God. Theintent was not to force conversion on anyone; this was forbidden by the Koranand the Bible. The object of jihad and the crusades was to gain political controlover societies and run them in accordance with the principles of Islam andChristianity. Both took separate paths to accomplish their prospective goals, thusexplaining the Islam influence in the Middle East and North Africa, and theChristian influence in Europe and North America. During the decades following the death of Muhammad certain essentialprinciples were singled out from his teachings to serve as anchoring points for theIslamic community. These have come to be called the “five pillars of Islam.”Some early, and more fanatical, believers added jihad as a sixth pillar, but it wasnever accepted by the whole community. Similar to the five pillars, the TenCommandments are regarded as law in the Christian faith. The revelations that Muhammad received were collected into a new book,the Koran, directing his followers what to believe and how to live (In the samemanner, the Bible is a collection of writings from prophets, including Abraham,Moses, Elijiah, etc. Identical to the Muslim prophets.) Many Muslims (the namefor people who practice Islam) believed that everything Muhammad said and didwas inspired by Allah, many reports of his sayings and deeds were collected. Atfirst these were just remembered and spread by word of mouth. Later they werecaptured in writing, to serve as an additional guide for believers, along with theKoran. The Koran relies heavily on Christian traditions. It was Muhammad’scontention that Christianity had departed from belief in God’s message asrevealed in their Scriptures. God had sent many prophets, among them Abraham,who is considered the founder of the faith for Islam, as he is also for andChristianity. The Koran, using sources in the older Scriptures and later traditions,relates the stories of Abraham, Joseph, Moses and Aaron, David, Solomon,Jesus, and others, all of whom are declared to have been true prophets whosemessages were largely ignored: “We sent forth Noah and Abraham, andbestowed on their offspring prophethood and the Scriptures. . . . After them wesent other apostles, and after those, Jesus the son of Mary.” The lack of successthese prophets had was reflected in Muhammad’s own experience, as he

preached the oneness of God to the Arabs in Mecca. The implication was that hewas the last in the series of prophets, the last reveler of divine truth. After Muhammad’s death in AD 632, it was feared that the content of therevelations might be lost, as those who had originally memorized it died. It wastherefore decided to collect all the revelations, from whatever source, and make acompilation. Even at this early date, variations in the Koranic revelations werebecoming common in different parts of the new Islamic empire. So that therewould be a definitive version, the Caliph `Uthman (the caliphs were successors ofMuhammad) commissioned one of the Prophet’s followers, Zayd ibn Thabit, andothers to sort through and pull together all the material and compare it with theremembrances of those who had learned it by heart. In this manner, anauthorized version was created. The arrangement of putting the longer chaptersfirst and the shorter ones last violates the chronological order of the revelationsas they came to Muhammad. But a fairly accurate chronology can be worked outon the basis of knowledge about Muhammad’s life: He began his work in Mecca,spent a long period in Medina, and returned again to Mecca. In addition, thechapters indicate in which place the many revelations came to him. The mainemphasis of the book is on the oneness of Allah, in contrast to the multiplicity ofgods worshipped by the Arabs. These gods are denounced as powerless idolswho will be unable to help unbelievers on the day of judgment. Other doctrines,common to Israel’s later history and early Christianity, were incorporated into theKoran, as well. There is a strong assertion of belief in the resurrection from thedead, in angels and devils, and in heaven and hell. All of humanity is regardedas subject to the will and power of Allah. It is He who has created and will oneday judge mankind. The faithful are called upon to believe in Allah and to listen toHis Prophet. Islam recognizes two forms of prayer. One is the personal, devotional, andspontaneous type, not bound by any rituals or formulas. The other is ritual, oftencongregational, prayer, with specific words and postures, to be offered five timesa day: at sunrise, midday, midafternoon, sunset, and before going to bed. Similarto Christianity, which requires you to prayer individually, but also collectively. (”Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves…….) In Islam, before you prayer,ablutions are performed by washing the hands, feet, and face. A person calledthe muezzin calls for prayer and chants from a raised platform or minaret tower atthe mosque (the house of communal worship). earlier Christianity, in order toprayer to God sacrifices had to be made i.e.: lamb, goat, etc. Congregationalprayer is started with the imam, the prayer leader, standing at the front of themosque facing Mecca, the holy city of Islam being the death place ofMuhhamed). The congregation is lined up in rows behind him. (There are noseats in a mosque.) Each prayer consists of several units, during which theindividual is either standing, kneeling, or prostrate. At every change in posture,”God is great” is recited. The chief day of communal worship is Friday. Believersgather at the mosque to pray, listen to portions of the Koran, and hear a sermonbased on the text. The sermon may have moral, social, or political content. Islamhas no ordained clergy such a Christian churches, but there are men speciallytrained in religion, tradition, and law The hajj, “pilgrimage,” is an annual Muslim rite that every believer isexpected to take part in at least once in his lifetime. From the seventh to the tenthday in Dhu al-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar, thousands of Muslimsconverge on the city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia to visit the holy shrine of theKaaba in the Great Mosque. Tradition has it that the shrine was built by Abraham. The pilgrimage is intended to reenact the hegira, the flight of Muhammad fromMecca to Medina in 622. Most travelers will visit both cities, in addition toperforming a number of other ritual observances. The pilgrimage culminates withthe feast of sacrifice, one of the two major festivals that are celebrated during theIslamic year. Christianity does not require such a pilgrimage, but most Christiansindirectly have the need to visit Jerusalem, the birth place of Jesus. mostChristians consider it an honor to visit it. Fasting. In the second chapter of the Koran is the statement “Fasting isdecreed for you as it was decreed for those before you.” Because the Koran wasfirst revealed to Muhammad in the month of Ramadan, the whole month was setaside as a period of fasting. During each day, from first light to darkness, alleating, drinking, and smoking are forbidden. Those who are ill or on a journeymay postpone the fast until a “similar number of days later on,” according to theKoran. The second major festival of the Islamic year begins at the termination ofthe fast and lasts several days. In Christianity, this could be compared to theLenten period, where Jesus was sent to the desert for 40 days and nights, wherehe was tempted by Satan. Christians usually give up something of importanceduring that period. Although some do go on fasts, it is generally not as long. Theend of the 40 day fast is known as Ash Wednesday, which begins the mostholiest point in the Christian calendar (Good Friday, and Easter). Another similar attribute both religions share is the given of money. InIslam, the zakat is an obligatory tax, a contribution made by Muslims to the stateor to the community. In the modern period, the zakat has become a voluntarycharitable contribution. In Christianity this is known as tithe. Believers areexpected to contribute 10% of there salary to God (”Bring the whole tithe into thestorehouse, that here may be food in my house”) As you can see Islam and Christianity are indeed woven from identicalfabrics. In a sense, it was geography that separated these prodigal brothers. Inrecent years people (Christians) have come to view Islam as an “evil” religion,mainly because of the fanatics, but they must also look at the Christian fanaticswho kill, and bomb in the name of God. Thus all the religions in the world have it’sfaults and it’s pluses, but in short they are all intertwined