The word Christianity is derived from a Greek khristos which simply means the anointed one. Christianity is a religion which is based on the teachings and life of son God who is Jesus Christ of Nazareth. The teachings of Jesus Christ are presented in the new testaments and he is believed to have come down to earth to save the mankind hence he is referred to as the Messiah which means that Jesus is the savior of mankind. Those who do follow and obey the teachings of Jesus Christ are referred to as Christians(Ratzinger, 2004). This religion started as a Jewish sect in the 1st century and since then it has grown to be a massive religion in the Empire of Romans. It is during the colonization period and through the missionary work that the rest of the world was converted to Christianity. Christians also believe that Jesus died for their sins and eventually rose from the dead and ascended into heaven where he rules with God the father and will come to judge all the dead and living human beings. The message of Jesus is referred by Christians as the gospel or the good news.
Islam on the other hand is a religion expressed by the Quran. Quran is the book which contains the word of God as far as Islamic faith is concerned. It contains the teachings according to Prophet Muhammad who is the last prophet of Islam. Those who follow the teachings according to Prophet Muhammad are called Muslims and the word Islam means submission to God. They do believe in one God and also that previous messages of God were altered and only the message from Quran was not altered. Muslims practices include the five pillars of Islam, fasting, praying, Alms-giving, pilgrimage and following the Islamic law which touches almost every aspect of life. The Muslim religion belongs to two denominations which are Sunni Islam and Shia Islam. Muslim believes that prophets like Moses, Abraham and Jesus as human beings who were sent by God to deliver his message to his people all over the world. They believe that prophets are human beings just like others and they are not divine but can perform miracles. They are encouraged to follow the life of Prophet Mohammad in their day to day undertaking since he is the one who was finally sent by God to convey message to the whole world.
Both Christianity and Islam are Abrahamic religions due to the fact that they do trace their origins to Abraham. It is acknowledged in both Christianity and Islam that Abraham is their ancestor. For instance Christianity began as a section of Judaism which was regarded as the religion of Jacob. Jacob was the grandson of Abraham. It then evolved as a different religion with its practices and beliefs. It came up with the idea of universal community hence replacing simple monotheism. Islam on the other hand was founded later by Muhammad and was based on the teachings of the Quran. Inclusiveness of Christianity was maintained but reverted back to simple monotheism with a prophet who is not divine. It is clear that all the Abrahamic religion worships an exclusive God, and is monotheistic. Christianity and Islam believe that there is one God, He is the creator, he rules, loves, reveals, forgives and judges. They both believe that there is one God who created the world and his word should be obeyed. It is also believed by both religions that the one and only god will determine on the day of the judgment the destiny of all humanity based upon ones actions and believes. As far the scriptures used by both religion is concerned, they both acknowledge the stories of Adam, Moses and Noah but with a slight difference. In Christian faith, Abraham is considered as a critical example of spiritual, faith and ancestor of Son of God Jesus. His act of offering to sacrifice his only son Isaac is seen as bringing to realty the forecast of God sacrificing his Son Jesus Christ. Islamic view of Abraham is slightly different because they consider him as a prophet who is the messenger of God. He is considered as the father of Islam since he was the first Muslim. In short, both Christians and Muslims do consider Abraham as an important part and parcel of their faith and religion.
Similarities of Christian and Islam
Both religion belief that there is only one true God and one is not supposed to worship any other god. Most of the prophets like Jesus and Ibrahim are from God himself and belief that ascended in heaven. Torah, Gospel and the prophets were given by God and believers are supposed to obey the word of God. Believers should surrender themselves to God. It is believed that Jesus will return and also that God will resurrect all for the judgment. Those who believe in him will go to heaven after their death while who do not believe will go to hell and be punished for ever. No one should be killed as a result of his or her faith and also the poor should be accorded the help that they deserve. The religions are both monolithic due to the fact that they both believe in one God as the creator of heaven and earth. God is also considered to make covenant with his people as well as having a good relationship with those who believe in him. No one knows the Day of Judgment in both religions and on that day, the devil will be defeated and God will emerge the winner. Miracles also occur occasionally and God forgives those who repent their sins. The prophets in both religions are believed to have brought spiritual instruction to God’s people. There are some sections in both the Holy Bible and the Quran that seem to be the same such as the story of Adam and Eve, children of Israel and the story of Moses. They expect that Jesus Christ will come again on the judgment day.
The pillars of Islam and Christianity
The five pillars define the structure of the Muslim life. They are indication of player, faith, support for the needy, fasting during the month of Ramadan and finally a visit to Mecca at least once in Muslim lifetime for those who can afford. There are some bases that seem to link Muslim to Christianity as far as both the bible and the Quran are concerned. The first pillar of Islam is the testimony of faith. This means that according to the Muslim they do proclaim that there is no other god Apart from true God and none other should be worshiped. It is the most important pillar of Islam and it is called Shahada (Esposito, 1998). The Christians also proclaim existence of one God through the apostle’s creed. It is therefore clear that both Islam and the Christian has a way of proclaiming the existence of only one God and no other god should be worshiped. The other pillar of Islam is giving Zakat which simply means that the needy people amongst the Muslim community should be supported. They believe that wealth belongs to God. Zakat means giving a certain percentage of wealth to the needy but a Muslim can give as much as he or she pleases. This is echoed in Christianity by giving charity. According to Christians, they give as a spiritual displine and it is not a must. This is a way of acknowledging that the wealth they have is from God. This is the same view in Muslim religion. Christians start giving from as low as 10 % tithe of their wealth but it is recommended that this should be exceeded so that the needy can be assisted and also that wealth can be used to spread the word of God (Ratzinger, 2004). Christians operate using the principle of generosity.
The pillar of player state that Muslims pray five times a day and during the payer there is a direct link between God and the prayer. They do play at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and at night but one can pray anywhere. Also in Christianity, player is a Christianity value. Christians, most of the times use prewritten players like psalms .Christians also belief that there is personal relationship with God but through Jesus Christ. Players conducted by Christians are mostly personal confession and praise to God.
The forth pillar of Muslim is fasting during the month of Ramadan. They do fast from dawn to sunset by abstaining from sexual relations, food and drink. It is considered by Muslim as a way of purifying one’s spiritual life through denying oneself the worldly comforts. This is also echoed in Christian life when they fast during the seven week period prior to Easter. This in Christianity is referred to as Lent period. This helps the Christians to focus on their life with God although one can fast any time during the year. From the Bible also, Jesus Christ fasted for forty days. This is a good example for Christians to follow.
Pilgrimage to Makkah is another pillar of Islam. This is an obligation to every Muslim to visit Makkah at least once in lifetime. It is carried out during the twelfth month of Islamic calendar. Male Muslims wear special cloths which eliminate distinctions of class, making everyone look the same before God. Christians may also go to worship God in specific places such as churches and other historical places and international churches like Hillsong in Australia. However it is not necessary to go to these places. Just as Muslims, Christians are also entitled to go on trips of companionship and evangelism. Although it is not a must, every Christian is supposed to go on a mission trip once in a lifetime.
Critique of Christianity
Muslims do not believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God; rather they do believe that Jesus is a prophet just like Moses. They don’t also believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross. They believe that he ascended in to heaven. Christians believes in trinity that is, God the father, God the son and God the Holy Spirit which is strongly opposed by Muslims. Muslim oppose the fact that all of mankind is held responsible for the sin of Adam and Eve .They do believe that all mankind is born pure and is responsible for his or her own sins.
Although both Christianity and Muslim are of different religions, they do have a historical background which seems to share some commonalities. For instance they both believe and follow the teaching of Abraham. Their belief to some extent is similar for instance believing in one God as creator of heaven and earth and all mankind. Some of their moral codes seem to be the same. Both Christianity and Muslim believe that faith should be based of the individual deeds. This simply means that one as a believer should practice what one believes and not only say by the word of the mouth. Also human beings in both religions are considered to have rights and hence actions such as murder and theft are prohibited.