Islam is an Abrahamic and monotheistic religion that is articulated by the Quran. The Quran is a book considered to be a verbatim God’s word by its adherents and by the normative and teachings of Muhammad. Muhammad is believed to be the last prophet of God by the Muslims. The Muslim faiths believe that there is only one God and that he is incomparable. The purpose of existence according to the Muslims is to worship God. The Muslims consider Islam to be the universal and complete primordial faith version that was revealed several times by the prophets who include, Noah, Adam, Moses, Abraham and Jesus.
Muslims believe that previous revelations and messages have been partially altered or misinterpreted especially by other religions such as Christians, but view the Quran to be the final and unaltered revelation of God. Religious practices and concepts include the five Islam pillars, which are the basic obligatory acts and concepts of worship, and following the law of Islam, that virtually touches on every aspect of society and life, offering guidance on various topics like welfare, banking, the environment and family life. Muslims are mostly from two denominations that include Sunni who make more than 75 of the total Muslims population and the Shia, who make up the remaining 20 percent of the Muslim population.
Islam and Christianity share a traditional and historical connection, as well as a number of theological differences. The two faiths are believed to share a common origin that is in Middle East and are always considered to be Abrahamic religions. Muslims have several different views towards Christianity and always consider the Christians as the heretics or the people of the book. The view of Christians towards Islam is diverse and includes looking at the as fellow religion who worship the same God and considering them as an unrelated cult or heresy. Islam and Christianity both view Jesus as to be God sent. However, Christians go further and consider him as the son of God, while Muslims on the other hand look at Trinity to be a God’s Oneness division as well as a grave sin. Both the two religions consider themselves as being monotheistic.
The most fundamental concept in Islam is a rigorous monotheism referred to as tawhid. God has been described in the Quran in chapter 122, where is states that He is God, the one and only God, the absolute and external and there is like Him (Farah 81). Muslims and Jews repudiate the doctrine of Christianity on Jesus divinity and Trinity, and the two faiths compare this to polytheism. God in Islam is beyond all comprehension and they are not supposed to visualize God. God is referred and described by certain attributes and names, the most used being Al-Rahman, which means the compassionate and Al-Rahim, which means the merciful.
The Muslims faith believes that the creation of everything that is in the universe was as a result of a sheer command from God and that the purpose of man is to worship God. God is considered as a personal god who is always there whenever a person is in distress or in need. There exist no intermediaries, like clergy that can be used to contact God. His reciprocal nature is seen in the hadith qudsi where it states that he is as His servants think or expect He is. Allah is the word with no gender or plural used by Arabic-speaking Jews and Christians and Muslims to refer to God. Ilah is used for a god or deity in general.
In accordance to the Muslim faith, it is fundamental to believe in angels. The Arabic term for angel is malak which means messenger, just like in the case in Greek and Hebrew who refer to angels as angelos and malakh respectively. The Quran states that angels do not have free will, and hence obey and worship God in total obedience. The duties of angels include communicating Gods’ revelations, recording the actions of every person, glorifying God and taking souls when a person dies. According to the Muslims, angels are made from light. The angels are described as the messengers having wings.
Most Christians today believe in the Trinity, to mean that God exist in three forms, that is, the Holy Spirit, the Son and the Father. The trinity concept was not adopted by the Christians until after 325 AD by the Council of Nicea (Dammen 2009) Some of the earliest Christians were Unitarians. In Islam, Trinity has been totally rejected and they consider Jesus as neither the so of God, nor God. They take Jesus as being a human prophet and they worship only God who they believe is the one and the only one who created the universe. According to the Quran, Jesus is a created human being and served as a slave to Allah
The holy books of Islam are the records that Muslims believe were dedicated to various prophets by God. The Muslims believe that some sections of the previously revealed scriptures that include the Injil, referring to Gospels, and Tawrat, referring to Tawrat, have been distorted with time, either in text, interpretation, or both. The Quran is viewed by Muslims either, by reading, literally or recitation, as the final literal and revelation word of God and is considered to be the finest piece of literary work ever written in Arabic language.
Muslims believe that Quran verses are were revealed by God to Muhammad through the archangel Gabriel on different occasions until his death. All the revelations were written down while Muhammad was still alive, by his companions, although the prime transmission method was memorized orally (Hedayetullah 90).
The Quran focuses more on moral guidance and not legal instructions, and is viewed as the sourcebook of Islamic values and principles. Muslim jurists consult the written record of the life of Prophet Muhammad and the reports, to supplement the Quran and help in its interpretation. The Quran science exegesis and commentary is referred to as tafsir while the rules that govern proper pronunciation are referred to as tajwid. Muslims normally view the Quran as the original scripture that was revealed in Arabic, and any translations are necessarily wanting.
Prophets are identified by Muslims as the people chosen by God to serve as his messengers. The Quran states that prophets worked under Gods’ instructions to bring His will to the people from different nations. According to Muslim faith, prophets are human beings, and not divine as considered by other religions, though they are in a position to miracles in an effort to prove their claim. Islamic theology states that all the messengers of God preached the Islam message of submission to Gods’ will (Esposito 46).
Several figures are mentioned in the Quran who are considered to be Islamic prophets, including Noah, Adam, Moses, Abraham and Jesus. The Muslims believe that Muhammad was sent as the last prophet to pass the divine message to the entire world as a means of summing up and finalizing Gods’ word. The normative example of the life of Muhammad is referred to as Sunnah, to mean trodden path.
Resurrection and Judgment
The belief in the resurrection day is crucial in Islamic. The Muslims believe that the “Day of Resurrection” has been preordained by God but is not known to man. The tribulations and trials preceding and during the resurrection day have been described in the hadith and the Quran, as well as in the scholars commentaries. The Quran insists on bodily resurrection, which is a break from how the pre-Islamic Arabs understood death.
Muslims believe that on the “Day of Resurrection” all mankind will face judgment on their bad and good deeds. The Quran has listed a number of sins that condemns an individual to hell, and they include dishonesty and disbelief in God. However, the same Quran insists that God will forgive the sins of the people who repent if he so wills (Farah 81). Good deeds, such as prayer, compassion for animals and prayer, will be rewarded by getting to heaven. The Islamic faith considers heaven as a place of bliss and joy, with the Quran describing its physical pleasures and features to come.
Muslims and Christians believe there will be a judgment day and in life after death which comprises of the dead resurrecting on the judgment day and the retribution of punishment and reward by God in the membership form of hell and heaven according to the earthly deeds of an individual. In both the religions, eschatology has been graphically descried and well defined. Hell and Heaven are regarded by Christianity and Islam as permanent adobes of the evil and the righteous respectively following their physical death on earth. Heaven symbolizes external peaceful life for those who constantly fellowship with God and hell regarded as external damnation.
The salvation concept in Christianity varies depending on the denomination or sect of an individual. Some of the Christians believe that salvation is attained through faith and prayer alone to Jesus Christ, while others believe that baptism or other ordinances have to be included. Salvation is viewed as a free gift from God and is attained y grace along through having faith in Jesus Christ, but one has to accept Jesus Christ into their lives and get born again in order to receive salvation. According to the Islamic faith, the salvation concept means good deeds, correct belief and observing the five pillars on regular basis.
The Christians believe that Jesus was crucified to death and be resurrected there after. The Muslims on the other hand believe that Jesus never died but ascended to heaven at the time of crucifixion. In An-Nisa 4: 157, it is written that in reality Jesus was not killed in reality and crucified and those claiming that he was crucified are liars (Siljander, and Mann, 2008). The Christians also believe that Jesus resurrected three days after he was crucified while the Muslims believe that Jesus did not die in the first place but ascended directly to heaven at the time of crucifixion.
While Islam is seen as to have a set of belief in common that are basic to nearly all the Muslims, there is hardly anything that can be said to be common when it comes to Christianity. There are significant exceptions when it comes to all the main Christian beliefs and despite most of the Christians being top ten members, there are more than twenty thousand Christian sects, with some of them being more visible when it comes to propagation compared to their adherents number would suggest. The Christian belief is presented as a historical and logical development that has diversified following precise historical challenges and this explains the diversity in the belief among Christians and offers a coherent means of perceiving it as a whole.
Comparing Christianity and Islam, Christianity remains the most trusted religion. This follows the absolute truths associated with Christianity. It is only in Christianity that the prophecies of the coming of Messiah were fulfilled. It is only in Christianity that there is accurate transmission of the gospel making the originally written Bible trustworthy. In Christianity, Christ claimed to be God, and performed miracles that proved His divinity claims. Jesus led a pure life unlike Muhammad who has been linked in immoral behavior. Islam has also been criticized in the way they mistreat women as well as the Jihad, which allows then to kill.
Esposito, John. Oxford History of Islam. London: Oxford University Press, 2010. Print
Farah, Caesar. Islam: Beliefs and Observances. New York: Barron’s Educational Series, 2004. Print
Hedayetullah, Muhammad. Dynamics of Islam: An Exposition. Manchester: Trafford Publishing, 2006. Print