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Judaism and Islam are some of the world’s great religions that have given the humankind hope, a sense of belonging, and solace whenever they are faced with challenges and emotional setbacks. Despite their missions, studies show that the two religions have some differences as well as shared similarities. Therefore, the essay will analyze the difference and similarities between Islam and Judaism.
Islam is one of the world`s largest and fastest growing religions. The monotheistic Abrahamic religion has one incomparable God, Allah. According to Islam, Allah manifested Himself to the faithful through natural signs, scriptures, and prophets. Islamists believe that their last prophet, Muhammad, Allah`s last messenger is their religion`s pillar whose teachings and normative called Sunnah are composed of accounts called hadith. On the other hand, studies show that Judaism is a monotheistic Abrahamic religion. (Calder 243). Judaism encompasses culture and way of life of the ancient Jewish people with the Torah as their foundational text. To the Jewish, Torah is the expression of the conventional relationship that God made with the children of Israel through the Ten Commandments given to Moses at Mount Sinai in both written and oral form.
Similarities between Islam and Judaism
According to studies, both Islam and Judaism have some shared similarities. Firstly, it is observed that the two are monotheistic. To such extent, the two believe in the existence of one Supreme Being known as God and Allah among the Jewish and Islamists respectively. Secondly, the two are Abrahamic. Notably, Islam can be traced from the lineage of Ishmael while Judaism emanated from Isaac both of whom were Abraham`s sons (Calder 223). Thirdly, Islam and Judaism believe in the existence of prophets. Indeed, most of the prophets in Judaism are also mentioned in Quran, from Adam to Zachariah. Fourthly, Islam and Judaism believe in the existence of a holy book that contains God’s laws that must be followed to achieve eternity. Observably, in their holly books-Quran and Torah, the Jewish people are described to have been chosen by Allah, or God, and that the Holy Land, Israel, was given to them by Allah, or God. Fifthly, the two religions have the particular direction of prayers. Mainly, both of them pray in a congregation facing a particular direction, Mecca for Muslims and Jerusalem for Jews. Sixthly, Islam and Judaism practice pilgrimage. Here, Muslims go to Mecca while the Jewish go to the Temple of Jerusalem for Jews, during which they both offer animal sacrifices. Lastly, studies show that the two have no concept or doctrine of original sin. Most importantly, Muslims believe that all humans are born sinless, but their weaknesses lead them to sin while the Jews believe that atonement for sins committed is made through prayer to God to seek forgiveness.
Differences between Judaism and Islam
In as much as the two religions have some similarities, they also have quite distinct features that differentiate them, most of which are unique to each of them alone. Firstly, the two words, Islam and Judaism were derived from different languages; the former derived from Arabic, a word for submission, while the latter from Hebrew. Secondly, in Islam, The Holy Spirit is identical with the Angel Gabriel who appeared to Prophet Muhammad while in Judaism, though not a distinct person, The Holy Spirit has divine powers that were given to the prophets. Thirdly, studies show that though they also believe in the fact that some sins lead to eternal punishment, whereas others can be punished here on earth, most of the Judaism groups do not emphasize on the aspect of the afterlife. On the other hand, the Islamic religion believes in an afterlife that depends squarely on the type of life one leads here on earth. Consequently, there is Hell for those whose deeds do not appertain to the Islamic laws and Paradise for those whose life adhered to the teachings of the Holy Quran and Prophet Muhammad. Fourthly, in Islam, their book of prayer is The Holy Quran, revealed to Prophet Muhammad for over a period of 20 years. Moreover, the Quran is the final revelation given to Mankind by Allah (Powell, 153). As for Judaism, their book of prayer is the Siddur, with other Holy Books such as Torah, which is their foundational text and form part of the larger Tanakh, or the Hebrew Bible (Troen, 163). Fifthly, the two have a different perception of Jesus. To the Jews, Jesus Christ was just an ordinary Jew and neither a divine person nor the Messiah. In fact, their belief portrays Jesus as a person whose mission was of no relevance. On the contrary, Islam claims that Jesus, Isa, was a none divine humankind born by Virgin Mary and sent by Allah as a prophet on a mission to spread the Injil/ Gospel.
- Powell, Emilia J. “Islamic Law States and Peaceful Resolution of Territorial Disputes.” International Organization, vol. 69, no. 4, 2015, pp. 777-807.
- Troen, I. “Secular Judaism in Israel.” Society, vol. 53, no. 2, 2016, pp. 153-162.
- Calder, Ryan. “God’s Technicians: Religious Jurists and the Usury Ban in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.” Archives Européennes De Sociologie, vol. 57, no. 2, 2016, pp. 207-257.