“Say: O People of the Book! Come to common terms as between us and you: that we worship none but God, that we associate no partners with Him, that we erect not, from among ourselves, lords and patrons other than God...”
One of the most beautiful (and prevalent) things in the Qur'an is this call to find common ground and behave on terms of respect between the “People of the Book,” that is to say, Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
Even the food of the other groups has been made lawful to us in order that we may break bread together, one of the best ways to connect and spread love and peace.
So today I would like to highlight some of the similarities between Christianity and Islam, in the hope that I can show you that we are not as different as we may seem.
The first, and most fundamental, belief shared by both Christians and Muslims is the one mentioned in the verse above: We are monotheists. We believe in one God, and believe the one God is the only being we turn to in worship and supplication
He is the Creator of the whole universe and everything it contains, and He is the One who will preside over the Day of Judgement.
To come down to the level of messengers and scriptures, Muslims believe in and respect all of the Prophets mentioned in both the Bible and the Qur'an.
These include Adam, Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Josehp, Moses, David, Solomon, and Lot among others.
Muslims are also commanded to respect the past scriptures sent to these Prophets, i.e. the Torah and the Gospels in their original and unaltered formats.
“This is the Scripture whereof there is no doubt, for those who fear God. And who believe in that which is revealed unto thee (Muhammad) and that which was revealed before thee, and are certain of the Hereafter. These depend on guidance from their Lord; these are the successful.”
Qur'an 2:2, 4-5
On the topic of the Prophets and the scripture, Muslims also have great love and respect for Jesus, son of Mary.
We believe that he was a Prophet, sent with miracles from God such as curing the blind and lepers, and bringing the dead back to life. We believe that he was born of the Virgin Mary, who is considered a role model of piety.
We even believe in the ascension of Jesus to the heavans, and the second coming of Jesus towards the end of time. He is referred to in our scriptures as the Messiah.
The only differences in the narrative are that we do not believe that Jesus is God's son, nor any part of God. He was a Prophet and the Messiah, but as part of monotheism we hold that God is completely separate from His creation, including Jesus.
As far as the Virgin birth, we believe that he was created much like Adam or Eve: Adam was created from Earth, with no woman or man, and Eve was created from the rib of a single man. So why couldn't Jesus be created from a single woman? Everything is possible for God.
The other difference is that we do not believe in the crucifixion. We believe in the trail and sentencing, but that Jesus was taken to the heavens with God before having to die a torturous death on the cross.
This contributes to our doctrine of personal accountability with God: each human is personally accountable in front of God on the Day of Judgement, and none will bear another's sins, and none can intercede for someone else. This completely excludes the idea that one man, and a Prophet at that, can die in order for God to forgive every other person's sins.
If we look more closely at the scriptures and the laws of the religions themselves, we can see many striking similarities: just like Islam, modesty is encouraged and women are commanded to cover in the Bible, pre-marital intercourse is forbidden, pork (among other foods) is forbidden to eat and to touch, and the body is considered a temple, with alterations such as tattoos are highly discouraged (if not outright forbidden). These are just a few surface examples.
“For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.”
1 Corinthians 11:6 King James Bible
“And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcass.”
Deuteronomy 14:8 King James Bible
“Ye shall not make any cutting in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord.”
Leviticus 19:28 King James Bible
“Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doesth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ya are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.”
1 Corinthians 6:18-20 King James Bible
On a much deeper level of scripture, the Bible even has prophecies of the coming of another Prophet, which many contest to be the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad. I will hopefully be discussing this in a post next week.
Hopefully this has shed some light on the many similarities between Christians and Muslims, that can also be applied to Jews as far as the Old Testament goes. In this day and age, and in such a hostile political climate, it is more important than ever to focus on those things that we have in common, and overlook the differences that we have, which in comparison are very minor. I believe that interfaith work is becoming more and more crucial, because the only way that we can learn to spread peace and love is to come together with open minds and understanding.
Image sourced from pexels.com
Published by Ashley Bounoura