Basic Understanding of the Similarities and Differences Between Islam, Christianity, and Judaism
Before moving forward, it is imperative to know the basic similarities and differences between each of the three Abrahamic religions — the world’s three biggest religions. They are Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. All three religions consider themselves monotheistic faiths, as they all claim to worship one God. While Muslims and Jews are indeed strict monotheists worshipping one God as a single, indivisible entity, Christians, on the other hand, while thinking they are monotheists worshipping one God, are not, as they believe in the Trinity. Christians claim they believe in one God represented by or manifests himself in three persons. They claim they do not believe in three individual Gods; instead, they think they believe in one God who manifests himself through different identities, roles, and images: the Father in the Heavens, the Son, Jesus Christ, who came down in human form as the savior, and the Holy Spirit, the Counselor.
Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and God Himself. They believe that Jesus Christ has a divine and created nature. They also believe that each of these personas in the Trinity equally co-exists as God and that each of these entities is eternal and all-powerful. They do not think that each is a separate entity; instead, they believe that God the Father is the God, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This, of course, is a contradiction; common logic dictates that there cannot be three Gods at the same time as there is one God. It is either one or three, as one and three are not the same.
Prophets are to be loved and respected, but no form of worship is directed toward them, nor are they treated as demi-gods or intermediaries between humanity and God. Christians appointed Jesus Christ to divine heights he was not entitled to, which eventually became the dominant Christian belief. Jesus Christ was a mighty messenger sent from God, but he was only a mortal human. He was born to a mother; he ate and drank, slept, and used the bathroom; he suffered pain and emotions. This differentiates him from God the Almighty, as God does not need to eat, sleep, or drink. The Prophet Jesus’ mission was to confirm the Torah previously sent, make certain things lawful to ease the lives of the Children of Israel, and proclaim and re-affirm the belief in One God. He was only the servant and slave of God. The Trinity — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit — and the concept that Jesus died for our sins are firmly rejected in Islam.
Just like Muslims believe that Jesus Christ was only a created human Prophet sent by God, Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad PBUH was also a mortal human prophet sent by God after Jesus Christ. Prophet Muhammad PBUH is separate and distinct from Allah (God). God is eternal and immortal; He never had a beginning and was never created. All the powers that Jesus Christ is said to have had were given to him by God. On the other hand, God’s Attributes and Powers were not given to Him; they were within Him all along. God’s Attributes and powers never knew a beginning, nor will they ever have an ending. He has always been, and will always be, All-Knowing, All-Mighty, All-Powerful. God hears everything from the buzz of a mosquito’s wing to the eruption of volcanoes. All His Attributes are infinite.
The three religions worship the same God. The God in the Heavens that Christians worship and refer to as the Father is the same God worshipped by Muslims and Jews. Muslims use Allah to refer to God: Allah translates to God. Allah is not a foreign God, nor does He bear a foreign name. Allah, instead, is the semantic term for God. Regardless of this, some people harbor the mistaken belief that Muslims worship a different God than Christians and Jews and that Allah is the God of the Arabs or the Muslims. This is far from the truth. The word Allah is an Arabic name connoting the Almighty God. Arabic-speaking Jews and Christians use this same name to refer to God. If one were to peruse an Arabic translation of the Bible, one would see the word Allah used in place of the term God. However, while each religion worships the same God, Muslims, Christians, and Jews all have different concepts of Him.
Christians believe that Jesus Christ was sent to preach and teach all of humanity about the religion of God. According to Christians, everyone is required to follow his message, and only those who believe in his message, the crucifixion, and the redemption (i.e., that Jesus Christ died for our sins) will be saved from the hellfire and earn God’s kingdom in the afterlife.
The disciples of Jesus Christ and those who followed his actual teachings fell upon truth except for those who rejected and disbelieved in the Prophet that God sent after Jesus Christ, Prophet Muhammad PBUH, who came to reform the Message of God because it was tampered with after the departure of Jesus Christ.
Jews believe in the prophetic mission of Prophet Moses PBUH and trace their ancestry back to the Prophet Abraham PBUH, as Muslims and Christians do. Jews believe in the same God as Muslims — the God that revealed Himself to Abraham, Moses, and the other Messengers and Prophets PBUT. While Muslims refer to God as Allah, Jews refer to God as Elohim or Yahweh.
There are many similarities and shared aspects between Islam and Judaism, as both religions have a common history in terms of the Revelation of God through Prophets. The Holy Quran refers to Jews and Christians as People of the Book. Muslims and Jews believe in and worship the One God, and both reject the Christian belief in the Trinity and atonement. Both Muslims and Jews believe in many of the same prophets and believe in resurrection and an afterlife. Both Muslims and Jews have systems of religious law, recite ritualized prayers to God, fast, believe that Jerusalem is a holy place, and more.
The Jews who believed and followed the Message and teachings of their Prophet were upon truth until they rejected God’s Prophets sent after Prophet Moses PBUH, who came down with the same message. They rejected John the Baptist, Prophet Jesus, and Prophet Muhammad PBUT. One cannot be fully submitted to God if they accept some Prophets and reject others when God commands people to believe in all His Prophets. Misguided Jews who came after these prophets decided to follow their forefathers who were not on the right path instead of following guidance from God’s Prophets.
Muslims accept all Prophets and Messengers of God, who brought guidance to humanity. Many of them are the same Prophets that Jews and Christians are familiar with and believe in. Muslims believe in all the Messengers and Prophets sent from God, starting with the Prophets Adam, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon, and Jesus, and ending with the last and final Prophet, Muhammad PBUT. Muslims love, admire, and respect Jesus Christ and believe him to be one of God’s mightiest Messengers, one He sent to convey His Message to the Children of Israel — the nation that lived before us — as they were veering away from the laws and disobeying the commandments of God.
A few more critical points should be mentioned regarding Christian beliefs. Christians believe that every child is born with the taint of the original sin committed by our parents, Prophet Adam and Eve PBUH — a sin committed when they disobeyed our Creator and ate from the forbidden tree. According to Christians, all of humanity has inherited this sin of Adam and Eve PBUT. The sin was so great that God could not forgive it by simply willing it, even though He is All-Merciful, All-Forgiving, and All-Powerful. Christians believe that for God to forgive this sin, it was necessary to send Jesus Christ, who is supposedly part of God, according to Christians, to die on the cross even though he was innocent and did not commit the sin himself. Where is God’s Justice and Mercy in that? Mathew 27:46 quotes Jesus Christ crying out and begging his Lord: And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Does this sound like a person who wanted or volunteered to get crucified? Instead, it sounds like someone who would rather be somewhere else. Is there justice in punishing A for what B did? To Christians, there is.
Christians believe that because all men are born in this sinful state, no one is born clean, even if they live only one day on this Earth and immediately die. According to Christians, it is necessary for people to believe in the atonement, the idea that Jesus Christ died for our sins to be saved. They must believe that this sin can be erased and forgiven only through the death of the sinless offspring of God.
Christians believe that the path to salvation is for one to believe and accept that Jesus Christ died for the sin of our parents and our sins. With this belief, one can be saved from the hellfire and enter Paradise simply by having faith, without any action needed. By merely believing that Jesus Christ died for our sins, you get a free pass to Paradise without required action. Where is the logic in that?
Nowhere in the Bible did Jesus Christ explicitly state that he would die to save humanity from sin, yet that is still the core Christian belief. According to the Holy Quran and the Bible itself, one can receive forgiveness of sins solely through sincere repentance sought directly from God. If God, the Almighty, wished and willed to forgive humanity, He certainly could have done so without the need to sacrifice Jesus Christ, his supposedly only “begotten son.” The idea that all one must do to attain salvation is to believe that Jesus Christ died for their sins, without the need for any worship or to follow the Holy Law because Jesus Christ fulfilled it for them, was never preached by Jesus Christ himself. Thus, it does not make any sense whatsoever! Paul introduced this concept after the departure of Jesus Christ, and the Christians went with it!
According to Islam, the notion of original sin is inconsistent with the concept of justice of the Almighty, the All-Merciful, the All-Loving. How can God, the All-Just, make an innocent child responsible for bearing the guilt of a sin committed by a distant ancestor? It is not for one soul to carry the entire burden, and there is no justice to be found in one person being punished for saving another when the punished person never sinned themselves. Islam teaches that everyone is responsible and will be held accountable for their actions to attain salvation.
“And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another… “(Quran 35:18)
Salvation comes only from the act of believing in the One God and following His commandments. There are no intermediaries between man and God. If someone sins, they can sincerely repent and ask God directly for forgiveness while forsaking that sin. Moreover, God shall forgive them regardless of the size of the sin — even if one’s sins were to reach the Heavens. God is All-Merciful, All-Forgiving, and All-Loving, and He loves to forgive. Humanity is destined for Paradise unless they choose to disobey God in their own will and refuse His Mercy.
Christianity was founded on blind beliefs that Jesus Christ never taught, nor were they taught by any previous Prophets of God. Logic and rational thinking play no role in Christianity! Christians take what their Church teaches them at face value, believing they will be saved if they simply accept, without action and thinking!
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