Running head: christianity and muslims 1 Christianity and Muslim Comparisons

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Christianity and Muslim Comparisons

Justin Lewis
University of Kentucky

In our world today there are many different religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism. All of these religions follow a strict guidelines and practices. The two major religions with the most members are Christianity and Islam. Christianity has about 2.1 billion members worldwide (Organized Religions), while there are about 1.5 billion Muslim followers in the world (Friedman). About 248 million people in the United States identify themselves as Christian (about Christians). While an estimated 2.6 million Muslims live in the United States (Whalen). Some Christians have the wrong impression of Muslims, they think they are terrorist or bombers, when that is far from the truth. What most people do not know is Christianity and Islam are two very similar religions.

Denominations, Christianity and Islam have many different denominations. For Christianity there is many denominations such as Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Orthodox and Baptist just to name a few. With all the different denominations it does not make one denomination less Christian than the other denominations. The Christian denomination with the most followers is Catholicism. The Roman Catholic Church is the only Christian church to be inexistence for the first 1,000 years of Christian History ( Most Christian churches that exist today lineage can be traced back to the Roman Catholic Church.

Similar to Christianity, Islam has different denominations such as Sunni, Shia and Sufism. In past years we hear about the violence between the Sunnis and the Shiites, and it makes most people think that Muslims are violent people. A very prominent Muslim denomination is The Nation of Islam. The Nation of Islam was founded in the 1930’s by Wallace Fard Muhammad (X,M and Haley). He founded this religion because he felt that Christianity was the white man’s religion (X,M and Haley). After Fard disappeared mysteriously Elijah Muhammad became the leader of the Nation of Islam. The Nation of Islam during the 1940’s gained many of their followers from prisons and lost African Americans looking for guidance. During the 1960’s The Nation of Islam was becoming very popular and gaining many followers.

Many Christians fail to realize the similarities Islamic belief has compared to Christianity belief. Each religion follows a book with teachings, Christians follow the Bible and Muslims follow the Qur'an. Each book has information and teachings on how to live a holy life. Christianity and Islam are both monotheistic religions meaning belief in one god. Christians believe in God the father and believe no one else is above him. While Christians believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God and died to forgive our sins.

Muslims call their God Allah (Arabic for God) and believe that Jesus was a true prophet of God (religious facts). Christians follow the Ten Commandments, which essentially is a list of rules that Christians should follow and will help them live a better life. Honor your Mother and Father, you shall not commit adultery and you shall not steal are three commandments that people today struggle with everyday. For Islam belief they follow a similar teaching that is called Pillars. Muslims follow the Five Pillars of Islam. The Five Pillars of Islam is a list of how Muslims should live their life. The first of the Five Pillars is the Testimony of Faith, the testimony of faith is saying with conviction, “La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammadur rasoolu Allah.”  This saying means “There is no true god (deity) but God (Allah), and Muhammad is the Messenger (Prophet) of God.”(Ahmad, M) Second is Prayer, Muslims pray 5 times a day in the direction of Mecca. Mecca is the Holy City of Islam. A Muslim prayer does not take more than a few minutes to perform (Ahmad, M). Third is giving to Zakat or the needy. Muslims believe if Allah has blessed you with good fortune you should give back to those less fortunate. Muslims should give at a minimum two and a half percent of their annual income. Fourth is fasting for the month of Ramadan, Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Every day during this month, Muslims around the world spend the daylight hours in a complete fast (Ahmad, M). During Ramadan, every part of the body must be restrained. The tongue must be restrained from backbiting and gossip. The eyes must restrain from looking at unlawful people or things. The hand cannot take or touch anything that does not belong to it. The ears must refrain from listening to idle talk or obscene words. The feet must refrain from going to sinful places. In such a way, every part of the body observes the fast (Ahmad, M). The fifth and final of the Five Pillars is the Hajj or Pilgrimage to Mecca. This is a religious obligation that every Muslim should perform at least once in their lifetime. For Christians being baptized is similar to a Muslims Pilgrimage, its something that occurs once in your lifetime.

A couple differences between the religions are the day of worship, how woman dress and the drinking of alcoholic beverages. Christianity’s Sabbath is mostly observed on Sunday but some Christians who follow the Old Testament will observe the Sabbath on Saturday. Friday is the day of congregational prayer for Muslim men not women. The biggest difference between Muslim women and Christian women is the way they dress. In the United States Christian woman do not cover the face and legs. They can wear shorts and tank tops in public. While Muslim women where a hijab which covers there whole body from head to toe. Another difference between the religions is the drinking of alcoholic beverage. For Muslims the Quran states to stay abstinent from alcoholic beverages. The Bible talks about how Jesus drank wine and never says anything about not drinking wine or alcohol. In conclusion these two religions have many similarities and also many differences. This does not make one religion better than the other or one religion is right and the other is wrong.

Ahmad, M. (n.d.). What Are the Five Pillars of Islam.

Comparison of Islam, Judaism and Christianity. Religious Facts Chart (n.d.).

Friedman, H. (2011, April 25). 5 Religions With The Most Followers.

Top Ten Organized Religions of the World. (n.d.).

Whalen, A. (2014, November 3). Muslim Population in US.

X, M., & Haley, A. (1987). The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley (p. 69).

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