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Islam and Christianity
Religion was and still is an important part of human life; from early history up to now human beings have believed in different forms and have expressed they faith in different ways. Religion has influenced their lives in a lot of aspects, it has had a great role in leading big nations and it still influences many peoples life nowadays. It is also an important part of a persons education and his daily rituals.
Nowadays, there are many religions in the world, both monotheistic and polytheistic. For many people religion is a light which helps them to find the truth and the right way of living, so they pay attention to religion and spend a particular time on it. Christianity and Islam are the two largest religions in the world. Christianity is the first largest religion, with about two billion adherents, and after it comes Islam, the second largest religion, with more than one billion adherents, and this number is becoming larger every day. A lot of people in the world belong to these religions and have chosen them as the true way to believe. These two religions are not only the largest religions but they are also at the same time two monotheistic religions. However they display a lot of differences in their scriptures, beliefs and in worship.
Islam is a monotheistic Abrahamic religion predicated by the prophet Muhammad, an Arab religious person. He was a honest person who hadn't done bad to any body. He was fatherless when he was born and his uncle helped him, to become a vendor. When he was 40 years old, he became prophet and started to preach Islam; he was the restorer of the original, uncorrupted monotheistic faith of Adam, Abraham and others. Islam is built on five pillars. The first of them is witnessing. It is as below: "There is none worthy of worship except God and Muhammad is the messenger of God." This declaration of faith is called the Shahadah, a simple formula that all the faithful pronounce. The significance of this declaration is the belief that the only purpose of life is to serve and obey God, and this is achieved through the teachings and practices of the LastProphet, Muhammad. The second pillar is salah; it is the name for the obligatory prayers that are performed five times a day, and they are a direct link between the worshipper and God. There is no hierarchical authority in Islam and there are no priests. Prayers are led by a learned person who knows the Qur'an and is generally chosen by the congregation. Prayers are said at dawn, mid-day, late-afternoon, sunset and nightfall, and thus determine the rhythm of the entire day. These five prescribed prayers contain verses from the Qur'an, and are said in Arabic, the language of the revelation. Personal supplications, however, can be offered in one's own language and at any time. The third pillar of Islam is Charity. An important principle of Islam is that everything belongs to God, and that wealth is therefore held by human beings in trust. The word zakah means both "purification" and "growth." Our possessions are purified by setting aside a proportion for those in need and for the society in general. Like the pruning of plants, this cutting back balances and encourages new growth. Each Muslim calculates his or her own zakah individually. This involves the annual payment of a fortieth of one's capital, excluding such items as primary residence, car and professional tools. Fasting is the fourth pillar of Islam; it is abstaining completely from eating, drinking, and intimate sexual contacts from the break of dawn till sunset. It is a matchless Islamic institution which teaches man the principle of sincere love to God, a creative sense of hope, devotion,patience, unselfishness, discipline, etc. Obligatory fasting is done once a year for the period of the month of Ramadan. Fasting during this time is obligatory for every muslim adult if he is mentally and physically fit and not on a journey. The fifth pillar of Islam is pilgrimage; it is obligatory to make the pilgrimage to Mecca, at least once in a lifetime. Muslims from all walks of life, from every corner of the globe, assemble in Mecca in response to the call of Allah. It is to commemorate the Divine rituals observed by the Prophet Abraham and his son Ishmael, who were the first pilgrims to the house of Allah on earth: the Ka'bah. It is also to remember the great assembly of the day of judgement when people will stand equal before Allah.
Christianity, like Islam, is a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion based on the life and the teachings of Jesus and on the Bible. Jesus was born in Bethlehem to Mary a virgin, by a miracle of Holy Spirit, he started to speak to people when he was young when was in cradle. He passed his childhood in Nazareth, and was baptized by John. Christians believe that the Jesus is the son of God and the Messiah. Jesus is a teacher, the model of a pious life, the revealer of God, the mediator of salvation and the saviour who suffered, died and was resurrected in order to bring about salvation from sin for all. Christians maintain that Jesus ascended into heaven and most denominations teach that Jesus will judge the living and the dead, granting everlasting life to his followers. Christians describe the New Testament account of Jesus' ministry as the Gospel, or "good news". Christians believe that, as the Messiah, Jesus was anointed by God as ruler and savior of humanity, and hold that Jesus' coming was the fulfillment of messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. The Trinity is a Christian doctrine, stating that God is one Being Who exists, simultaneously and eternally, as a mutual indwelling of three persons: the Father, the Son ( Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit(Wikipedia.org). An important part of Jesus' teaching are ten commandments. Abdul Waheed Khan has listed them in his book as below: 1Recognition of the Sovereignty of God. You shall have no other gods before me. 2 Thou shall not make thee any graven image or any likeness of anything that is in the heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or in the waters below. Thou shall not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them, for I, the Lord your GOD, am a jealous GOD, visiting the children unto the third and the fourth generation of them that hate me. And showing mercy onto thousands of them that love me and keep my Commandments.3 Against perjury and profane swearing. Thou shall not take the name of the Lord, thy God in vain, for the Lord will not hold them guiltless that taken hisname in vain.
4 Observe Sabbath. Keep the Sabbath day to sanctify it, as the Lord- thy God hath commanded thee. Six days you will work and labour but the seventh day thou shall not do any work. (But God never gets tired. He never sleeps)
5 Honor thy father and thy mother, as the Lord, thy GOD hath commanded thee, that thy days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord, thy God give thee.
6 Sanctity of human life. Thou shalt not kill.
7 Observe sanctity of property. Thou shall not steal.
8 Do not commit adultery. Observe sanctity of marriage.
9 Do not give false evidence against your neighbor.
10 Keep away from covetous desires. Neither shall thou desire thou neighbor's wife, nor shall thou covet thy neighbor's house, his field or his man-servant or his maid-servant, his ox or his ass or anything that is neighbor's(17, 18).
These two religions also have their books. For Islam, the Qur'an is the holy book. It was revealed to Muhammad by God through the angel Gabriel in different periods during 23 years. It is the most important book for Muslims and contains 114 suras or chapters. It was written down by Muhammad's friends on different pieces of paper when he was alive, and after his death they collected it in one whole book. This book contain commandments about Islamic worship, Islamic law, and it also contains information about other prophets and judgement day . It is written in the Arabic language and it seems like a poetry when read in this language. For Christianity the holy book is the Bible. It was written after Jesus by different peoples in different versions. It includes two books, the New testament and the Old Testament. The original language of Bible is the Greek. It includes religious commandments and Jesus words.
These religions have a lot of differences, but the main difference between Islam and Christianity is trinity doctrine, because this appears in their believe. Christians believe in the trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and in the other hand the Muslims don't believe in this doctrine. They say that God is one and there is no other God. He hasn't son. They see Jesus as a prophet and a servant of God, not God's son, he is one of the best prophets and they have respect for him like for the other prophets. They believe Christ was neither crucified nor killed by Jews, Jesus was taken up to God, but the Christians believe that Jesus was crucified on a cross and after three days raised from the death.
Muslims believe that all mankind is born pure and each person is responsible for his or her own sins and not someone else's, while Christians believe in Original Sin, so all of mankind is held responsible for the sins of Adam and Eve which only the sacrament of baptism in the name of Christ can expiate. Muslim religious leaders ore not obliged to remain celibate, but the Christian priests are obligated to remain celibate. The Qur'an is an unique book it is only one book and hasn't changed from the time when it was written for the first time,while Bible is found today in different versions and it has seen many changes in different periods. For the Muslims, Friday is the day when they are obliged to go to the mosque to listen the speech of religious leader and to pray, but for Christians the Sabbath is the day when they have to go to church.
The method of worship is another difference between Islam and Christianity. As guadet has stated: "Prayer is very specific and exactly the same no matter which country the Muslim happens to live in. There are five prescribed prayers per day at set times according to the rotation of the earth around the sun. All of these prayers are obligatory for every Muslim. The prescribed prayers are recited in Arabic and are recited exactly the same in all countries of the world. The culture of a person does not influence the performance of prayer . It is the exact prayer that Muhammad, taught . for Christians, with a few memorized exceptions, like the 'Our Father' and the 'Apostle's Creed,' prayer is an improvised conversation with God; there is no prescribed time for nor daily number of Christian prayers"(Guadet,)
There is no doubt that Christianity and Islam are the largest religions, they are both Abrahamic and monotheistic religions, but in the same time they have many differences. These differences are evident in worship, in beliefs and daily rituals.
"Christianity". 4 May 2008 < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity>
Guadet James. "Islam and Christianity Similarities and Differences".4 May. 2008 < http://muslim-canada.org/islam_christianity.html>
Khan Abdul Waheed. Toward Understanding Christianity . Karachi; Pakistan: np. 2002