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Islam is an Arabic term, which literally means submission. Therefore, followers of Islam believe that man is supposed to subject to the will of God, which is disclosed to people by his messenger, Prophet Muhammad. It is worth noting that both Christian and Islam traditions share a lot in common. This is because they have quite a number of similarities in the Old and the New Testaments (Tingle 1985, p 89). Both religions are so much grounded in Abraham and other major patriarchs. Both religions believe in the presence of only one God. However, in Islam, they call him Allah (Renard 2011, p 67). Islam religion has a fundamental principle of monotheism, a belief that Christians will also attest to. In addition, these two religions originated from the Middle East. This article focuses on the relationships between Islam and Christian religions and how both religions have been influenced by the old and new testaments.
Focus is also made on the manner in which they worshipped their God. As a matter of fact, the first five books in the Old Testament are known as Pentateuch to imply that they are books of law. Although every book in the Pentateuch is independent, all of them form one collection which gives a detailed theological progression (Penner and Johnson 1999, p 56). On the other hand, Islam religion is based on five pillars, which form their basic beliefs. They believe in ministration of angels, as it used to happen in the Old Testament. They also have a number of prophets and believe there will be final judgement on the last day. Faithful in Islam hae to make five daily prayers, give welfare tax, and engage in a one month fasting as well as a journey to Mecca.
Christian tradition is based on one true God who is the creator of the universe. However, Christians believe in Trinity where God is displayed in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Jan Pelikan 1980, p 88). They believe that God has a son called Jesus through whom the whole world received salvation. They believe that at one time, Jesus lived on the earth and was killed through crucifixion, but he resurrected and ascended to heaven. According to the Christians, every person who believes in Jesus is able to have a good relationship with God. They also believe in forgiveness of sins and spiritual rebirth through Baptism (Jan Pelikan 1980, p 88). Christians usually take part in the Lord Supper, which is also known as the Holy Communion. It is a practice that repeats what was done by Jesus when he was with his disciples just before his crucifixion.
The Old Testament is a collection of various writings that are developed and edited by people in the Hebrew society before the Christian era started. Some of these collections are prophetic poetic writings from wise men as well as early records of the royal families. It is also a description that mirrors the belief that the early Christian church was established on what one of the Major Prophets known as Jeremiah said would happen concerning another new covenant that God would make with his people. This was fulfilled through the death of Jesus who initiated people into the new covenant. The earliest records in the Old Testament concentrate on the origin of the earth and the nation of Israel. Genesis is the first book of the Old Testament which talks about the creation of the universe and all the living beings in it.
The story of the origin of the nation of Israel is also discussed in details. The story of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is given describing how they inhabited the land of Canaan, which they had been accorded by God as an everlasting possession (Larue 2011, para. 7). These books also describe how Jacob and his sons went to Egypt due to famine and how the Hebrews eventually became enslaved by the Egyptians. Later on, after four centuries, the Hebrew people were led out of slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land by Moses.
The New Testament concerns greatly the Christians’ lives during the first century. The Christian church was established by the apostles following the ascension of Jesus. It is a collection of books written by early Christians who devoted their lives to God in proclaiming the gospel of salvation in the Middle East and the entire world. There are major authors in the New Testament such as Apostle Paul who wrote a large collection of books called ‘Letters of Paul’ (Jan Pelikan 1980, p 88). He wrote these books with specific message to churches spread across Asia where he used to preach the message of salvation of mankind through having faith in Jesus. These apostles and other members of the early church were severely persecuted by the Romans for their religious inclinations.