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Christianity and islam

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Reflection Paper:

Both Christianity and Islam are very wide spread religions in the world which have a great impact on the lives of their believers especially spiritually. Their common originality, values and some believes has enabled most of their believers to respect and try to understand each others faith. In most nations of the world these two religions have formed the bases of the countries laws and are highly recognized by the governments. Though Christianity is widely spread compared to Islam, they impose the same challenge to each other

Considering the similarities and the differences between Islam and Christianity, the two can be said to be very different since the main prophets and the holy books which form the basis and guidance of the respective religions are not acceptable to the other. Christian faith is based on birth, crucification, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ who is the messiah which is contrary to the Muslims view of Christ being just a prophet among the many.

Comparison between the two religions was much easier because there's a clear difference between the beliefs of the religions as well as practices in time of worship. This is because in day today life of the respective believers their religious views are aired. Getting the historic origin of the two religions was much easier especially that of Christianity which begun as a Jewish sect in the Mediterranean and Islam in the 7th century after the death of Prophet Muhammad. Getting the differences between the two both being Abrahamic religions and the holy books the Quran and the Bible referring to similar ancient people like Isaac and Ishmael in a related context.

Introduction

Christianity is a religious belief which begun as a Jewish belief and is seen as Abrahamic religion. Its followers are referred to as Christians. They believe in Jesus Christ the messiah as the prophet send by God to save mankind and the holy bible as the guide of their faith. They also believe that the messiah who came in the form of mankind suffered, died and resurrected to remiss them of their sins. It is also believed that he would return to reward those who have lived according to the doctrines taught by the holy bible.

     Islam is an Arabic word meaning submission and therefore Islam religion is believed to be an Abrahamic religion which believes in submission to the almighty God Allah and Muhammad as the prophet. Quran is the holy book believed to be the guideline of the Muslims who are the of the Islamic religion. It is believed that Allah repeatedly revealed it to Muhammad verbally through angel Jibril and the original Arabic version is the final revelation from God which is verbal.

Historic background

According to Stern(11-15) Christianity originates from the word kristos which is a Greek word meaning the anointed one and it is a monotheistic religion. It guided by the life and teachings of Christ Jesus as shown in the holy bible. It begun as a Jewish sect from the eastern Mediterranean in the first century and by the 4th century was already dominant in the Roman Empire. Most of Europe was Christianized by the Middle Ages but Middle East, North Africa and some regions in India remained with minority Christians. It spread to America, Australasia and all over the world through colonization, discovery work and missionary work hence became a major influence in Western civilization shaping. Thrower argued that It is the words largest religion and represents about a quarter of the entire population, also considered as a state religion in several countries (21-25) It is categorized into three groups: Catholics, Protestants and orthodox.

     Islam began developing as from the 7th century with the reconstruction of Prophet Muhammad's life after his death. It started spreading in Atlantic Ocean to Central Asia after Prophet Muhammad's first recitation of the Quran. According to Williams (1994) The Great Mosque of Kairouan is considered as origin of the western Islamic world mosques and is preserved up to now. Reference to Abdul-Rahman Islamic dynasties like Ottomans and Mughals collapsed under the European imperial sway during 18th and 19th centuries (141-160). Muhammad started conveying Islam at Mecca and later moved to Medina where the tribes of Arabia were united to a polity of Arab Muslim religion.Umar succeeded him in 634 following his death. The other successors were Uthman ibn al-Affan and Ali ibn Talib; the four are referred to as al-khulafa ar-rashidun. Several conflicts followed over political and religious leadership which led to the rise of schism amongst the Muslims. Basically the origin of Islam is tied to the economic, political and military.

Similarities between Islam and Christianity

     According to Strachey (62-69) both Islam and Christianity are Abrahamic religions or in other words believe in the existence of one supreme God. They both share common values and origin which is found in Judaism when the people of Israel were given Torah. Islam was founded by Muhammad referring to the Quran while Christianity was started by the followers of Jesus of Nazareth but they both acknowledge a spiritual tradition related to Abraham. For the two religions, God rules, judges, forgives and he's the creator of the universe. Jerusalem is also of major importance to both religions. It was the city where Christ was brought up, crucified, buried as well as resurrected. He also healed, preached and cleansed the temple so its considered as a holy place. The Al-Aqsa mosque in Sura Al-Isra also called the ‘furthest mosque' is located in Jerusalem 'the holy land. Abdul-Rahman (55-64) the first Muslims also prayed towards Jerusalem not Mecca and it was also the place where Muhammad ascended to heaven. The two religions also affirm that God sends angels and prophets to convey messages to his people and through inspired scriptures reveals his divine will. They also believe in the judgement day when God will intervene in the history of mankind and determine their eternal lives depending on personal beliefs and actions. Both religions believe in the power of prayer and fasting as taught by their earlier prophets.

Differences between Islam and Christianity

Thrower(30-58) argues that Islam disagrees with some of the Christian beliefs about Jesus Christ like him being the son of God and savior of mankind, also the holy trinity of there being God the father, the son and the Holy Spirit. Christians reject Islam's prophet and Quran while the Muslims support that God guides Christians but they perceive scriptures in their own interest. It is also different the way Muslims perceive the birth of Jesus compared to Christians. They believe that Jesus was created like Abraham while Christians believe that he was conceived by Virgin Mary through the Holy Spirit. They also believe that Jesus was to be crucified but was miraculously saved while Christians believe he was crucified but resurrected. Christians believe that the bible is Gods holy book which was written by people inspired by God and it teaches the will of God on mankind while the Muslims accept but believe that it has been corrupted to fit peoples interests over the years.

Conclusion

Christianity and Islam are major worlds religions with the latter having a greater number of followers. They share common origin, values and some believes like God being supreme, prophets being God's messengers and judgement of humanity based on personal actions and faith while on earth. The Quran and the Bible are considered as the two holy books written through God's inspiration though the Quran is believed was verbally revealed to prophet.

Muhammad through angel Jibril. The two religions have some major differences like the birth, crucification, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They also differ in the originality of the holy bible as compared to that of the holy Quran as well as its interpretation by the Christians. The similarities between the two outweigh the differences.

Works Cited

Abdul-Rahman, Muhammad, Saed. Islam questions and answers. Volume 22, MSA Publication Limited. Saudi Arabia. 1972

Lewis, Bernard & Churchill, Buntzie, Ellis. In the religion and the people. Illustrated. Wharton School Publishing, U.S.A, 2008

Stern, Bernard, Joseph. Science & society, Volume 12, 1-3, Concept Publishing Company, 1948.

Strachey, Lytton & Holroyd Michael. Eminent Victorians, Nile Penguin Classics, 1986.

Thrower, James. Marxist-Leninist “scientific atheism” and the study of religion and atheism in the USSR. Volume 25. Vienna ; Walter de Gruyter, 1983.

Willliams, John, Adel. The Word of Islam. University of Texas. Qayrawan. 1994


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