Religion has always been a difficult and complex subject especially because of the different kinds of opinions and ideologies individuals have of their religions and those of other individuals. However, it is usually advantageous for individuals to learn about the religions of their friends, colleagues, and family, so that they can interact better, and respect each other opinions and beliefs. It is through these teachings of different religions that we come to understand that other religions might be not as different as we might have thought from ours. In this paper, we will look at some of the main differences and similarities between two religions that is Judaism and Islam.
Islam is a term that generally is used to mean submission to the highest God. This religion follows and lives by the teachings found in the Quran, their holy book. The Quran gives them teachings of Allah, who is their God. Muslims also identify with and follow the teachings of their prophet, Muhammad. Scholars as Muslims, to mean an individual who submits to God, refer individuals who acknowledge and follow this religion. Muslims think of their religion as the universal and complete adaptation of the monotheistic faith. Just as well, Muslims follow and live by the five pillars of their Islam religion, which describes and represents the five duties that are supposed to keep them united as a community. Scholars and researchers think that Muslims make up one of the major faiths in the globe today, and it is profound in regions like North Africa, Middle East, and large parts of the Asian continent(Lewis 23- 89).
On the other hand, Judaism is a faith, which has been established on the basis of the ethics and principles found in the Hebrew Bible usually called the Tanakh. This religion is thought to have come into being at almost the same period as the covenant of Abraham and God. Scholars widely believe that Jews all over the world usually practice different kinds of Judaism, but their core belief universal to the followers of the religion. The universal belief of all Jews is that the belief in a revelation which is divine and in the acceptance of the oral and the written Torah, or what they commonly refer to as the Jewish Laws. Since time immemorial, Jews living in regions were Muslims dwell are given the right and the freedom to practice their religion but usually with certain conditions. As a result of this, a complex and challenging relationship has developed between these two religions, with Jews living under a status that is inferior to the supreme rule of the Muslims(Cohen 45- 56).
The general differences between the two religions include the fact that Muslims acknowledge and follow Islam while Jews are the followers of the Judaism religion. The teachings of the Islam religion are based on the Quran while that of the Jews is based on the teachings of the Tanakh. In addition, Allah is the acknowledged God of the Muslims, whom they worship and obey, and the teachings of Muhammad are the basic guidelines the Muslims follow in their day- to- day lives. The covenant the Abraham made with God is the basis of the teachings that the Jews identify with and follow. Their only God is God the almighty(Cohen 45- 56).
Despite all these differences between these two religions, we should also note the fact that the two also share a number of aspects and attributes. Though we tend to focus more on the differences in most cases, we should also learn that similarities do exist between these two religions. Jews and Muslims have a lot of similarities even though many would not like to admit it. For example, both Muslims and Jews believe in the same God. They believe that this God is the beginning and the Father of all civilizations and beliefs of the world. In addition to believing in the same God, the Judaism and Islam both acknowledge and believe in Abraham, who they believe is the father of all of the cultures, as well as, the religions of the world. In addition, Jews and Muslims are seen as or thought to be the religions of Abraham. Furthermore, Judaism and Islam share the same holy place that is the Rock, which scholars and other religions also refer to it as The Temple Mount. This holy place is where the father of all religions, Abraham brought his son for sacrifice after God ordered him to. The two religions, in addition to Christianity, believe that Adam was buried in this place. In addition to this, this is also the place where Solomon put a great temple in place. It is also a widespread belief among Christians that Jesus went to say his prayers in this holy place. The Islam followers, in contrast, hold the belief that Muhammad ascended to the holy place from this rock. It is clear from the examples that these two religions share a lot in common, even with Christianity(Keeler 54- 59).
Other many common similarities between Judaism and Islam other than one have to do with God, Abraham, or Holy places. One such similarity has to do with the development of the two religions. Scholars and researchers have argued that as Islam developed and established itself, it slowly became the key religion closest to Judaism religion. This is as opposed to other religions such as Christianity, which came from the interaction between ancient Hebrew and Greek cultures and religions. Researchers have carried comprehensive studies that point to the fact that Judaism is more close to the Islamic religion especially its most fundamental outlook on religion, jurisprudence, structure, and practice. There are also numerous traditions within the religion of Islam that originate from the traditions within the bible of the Jews or from the Jewish traditions that can be found in the post-biblical periods of the bible. Isra’iliyat is the general name given to these traditions and practices(Ghil’ad 238- 248).
There are some general similarities between these two religions that include; the two worship and believe in the same God, they all believe that they are the descendants of Abraham, all the males of the two religions are circumcised according to the laws of Abraham. In addition to this, both the religions and their cultures came from the Semitic period, and the two religions consider Jerusalem as their Holy city. The two religions are also similar in that they stress on the goodness of the followers over faith. The two religions also share numerous advances in philosophy, medicine, law, poetry, and literature. The two religions are peacemakers and extremists on both of the sides, and they all descended from Abraham(Neusner 153- 67).
Cohen, Mark R. Under Crescent and Cross: the Jews in the Middle Ages. Princeton University Press, 2004. Print.
Ghil’ad, Zuckerman… “Etymythological Othering’ and the Power of ‘Lexical Engineering’ in Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. A Socio-Philo (sopho)logical Perspective”, Explorations in the Sociology of Language and Religion, edited by Tope Omoniyi and Joshua A. Fishman, Amsterdam: John Benjamins, (2006): 237–258. Print.
Keeler, Annabel. “Moses from a Muslim Perspective”, in Solomon, Norman; Harries, Richard; Winter, Tim (eds.), Abraham’s children: Jews, Christians, and Muslims in conversation, by. T&T Clark Publ. (2005): 55 – 66. Print.
Lewis, Bernard.Cultures in Conflict: Christians, Muslims, and Jews in the Age of Discovery. US: Oxford University Press, 1995. Print.
Neusner,Jacob. God’s Rule: The Politics of World Religions. Georgetown University Press, 2003. Print.
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