Islam and Christianity
ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY
Islam and Christianity are some of the world’s biggest religion. These two religions have their similarities as well as differences, for instance, Christians believe that Jesus Christ was the son of God and their savior while Muslims believe that Muhammad was a prophet of Allah (God). This fact shows that they all believe in one God though they have different names for Him. These two religions have the different basis of origin. Islam was founded by Prophet Muhammad while Christianity was there before the birth of Jesus as explained in the two films from PBS about both religions. This paper compares the early life of Jesus and Prophet Muhammad and their influence in Christianity and Islam respectively.
Prophet Muhammad was born in Arab peninsula in a place called Mecca where there was constant war. When he was 6, His parents died and had a passion for orphans like him. His uncle who was the chief of their clan took Him and taught him survival skills in the desert as there was a bloody war for water since it rained twice a year. Muhammad was born in a tribe that believed in spirits like pure spirits of water wind and rock. On the other hand, Jesus was born in a Jewish community that believed in God. He was born in a peaceful community under harsh rules of Judaism the Roman Empire. Jesus grew up following the religion and observed the rules that were in place before his arrival. His parents, for example, took him to the Passover festival. Unlike Jesus, Muhammad did not attend any festival, and he did not observe the laws set by His community.
Prophet Muhammad got married at the age of 25 by a widow named Khadija, who was a merchant and older than He was. Khadija became more of a role model other than just a wife. (Esin Atil, www.pbs.org, Islam: Empire of Faith). Muhammad resolved disputes and one day solved a crisis of replacing the sacred stone that made Him known as the trusted one, Al-Amin. He used to go around Mecca Hills and meditate. It is at the Hills that an angel appeared to him in the form of man and taught him a prayer that became his starting point. Jesus however, did not get married and grew up learning the skills of carpentry from his father, Joseph. He attended the synagogue and preached from the Bible; that was the scriptural texts of the Jews. He grew up following the Judaism system, and he did not bring about the start of a new religion, but he adjusted the rules of the Jewish faith.
Prophet Muhammad received a message from the angel to proclaim to his people a simple and radical message that there is only one God. This was contrary to his community believes which found in idol worship. One God meant one people and hence no more fighting. H e, therefore, preached a social justice message where everyone was equal. This message spread very fast, and his voice became declared as the voice of God. He gained a large following that became known as Muslims that is those who surrendered to God. This then became the beginning of the Quran to preserve His message. It was a revelation of spiritual teachings of both ethical and general guidance. Jesus, on the other hand, became the teacher in a Jewish community that already believed in God. He delivered His teachings in the form of parables like the parable of the mustard seed and performed plenty of miracles like the miracle of transforming water to wine.
Islam started gaining popularity and as it grew so did its opposers and questions like where were Muhammad’s miracles arose. The idea of life after the death occurred and people could not understand. This opposition brought fear, and the elders wanted to kill Him, but he had the protection of his uncle. Killing of His followers and starving them was a tactic used by His opposers to bring them down. After the death of His wife and uncle in 619 AD, Muhammad, and His followers had to leave their ancestral home since their enemies now had a chance to kill Him and so they had to start in a new place, and this caravan journey became known as Hijra and was the starting point of Islam. After the beginning of His mission, Jesus also encountered much opposition especially from the Pharisees and the Sadducees. His defense of sinners and His claim to forgive sins became a problem since only God was believed to forgive. Jesus followers also experienced discrimination from His opposers. Unlike Muhammad, Jesus reaction to the opponents did not involve active fighting.
In conclusion Muhammad and Jesus lived very different lives and each had a significant role in their religion. Muhammad died in 632 AD after conquering all His opponents while Jesus death and rising from the dead was His conquest to His opposers.
William Cran, Dir. From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians – Part 1. PBS, 1998. Film.
Robert H. Gardner, Dir. Islam: Empire of Faith. PBS, 2000. Film.