What would be the first thought that comes out of your mind to describe Hinduism and Islam? The countries in South Asia such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are all under these two religions. They thrive in the same continent but they have contrasting set of beliefs and traditions.
Despite all that clashing and turning however, there will always be that thing that makes every culture or religion similar and that makes it more interesting. What could it be? Some, if not all, will be discussed to throw light on their likeness in this article based on their individual characteristics and customs.
What is Hinduism?
Most of the people living in the continent of South Asia such as India and Nepal are part of the religious movement of Hinduism that has more than 900 million followers scattered all across the globe. Hinduism is considered to be one of the most ancient religions in the world that is not very easy to describe as it has so many inclusions in its wide lineup of beliefs, rituals, theories, history and whatnot.
Contrary to the typical religious set up, Hinduism does not recognize any founder; alongside not having a scripture or a general set of discipline or counsel. Instead, it has more than just one ideologies and principles as well as sacred teachings written in different books making it a lifestyle rather than a mere religion.
Hinduism was founded in the vicinity of the valley of Indus nearby Indus River. The word Hindu (followers of Hinduism) got its derivation from the Sanskrit term Sindhu which was used by the Aryans or the people living in the rivers of the northwest region. The suffix ‘ism’ was adjoined to the word ‘Hindu’ during the 19th century based on British colonialism and their missionary activities.
Hindus believe in the supremacy of God with its form and nature being presented in the image of the multitude of gods that emanated from the God himself. Other beliefs that they hold very significant in their culture are the following: the cycle of life, death and reincarnation as governed by the theory of karma.
The Vedas, which is a Sanskrit word that means ‘knowledge,’ and other supplementary books based on its teachings are the Hindus main scriptures. The term “Hindu” is not mentioned in the sacred texts but the doctrines of dharma are discussed because these are considered to be the Hindus’ law or code of ethics.
What is Islam?
Islam is one of the major religions in the world that was founded by the Prophet Muhammad in the 7th century. Islam is an Arabic word that means “surrender” which gives light to the central viewpoint of the religion that Muslims are commanded to submit to the will of Allah (Islam word for God) revealed in the sacred Qur’an.
The Muslims highly regard Allah as their one and only God who created, sustained and restored the world. All humans are called to surrender to God in accordance to the sacred texts of the Holy Qur’an through the messenger Prophet Muhammad. The latter has been noted as one of the last prophets, and his teachings are believed to complete the messages associated to the prophets before him.
Muhammad originally taught Islam to only a few number of followers. Eventually, its rapid spread all throughout Middle East, Africa, Europe, China, subcontinent of India and the Malay peninsula increased its followers to over 1.5 billion followers around the world. Despite its advancement in terms of population, their monotheism remained steadfast alongside their rigorous obedience to their practices.
The law and doctrine of Islam are based on four integral foundations established by the holy texts or Qur’an, the traditions or the Sunnah, the concensus or the Ijma and the thoughts of man or the Ijtihad. The Qur’an is divided into 114 suras or chapters. Its themes include the ethical and spiritual teachings revealed in Mecca, and the socio-political principles for the community revealed in Medina.
One important thing to note are the five pillars of Islam which are the five duties that each and every Muslim must accomplish in order for them to live a life of goodness and obedience according to their faith. This includes the Muslim’s declaration of faith or the Shahadah; 5 times a day Prayer or Salah; Giving of Alms or Zakat; Fasting or Sawm during Ramadan; and their Pilgrimage or Hajj to Mecca.
What are the similarities of Hinduism and Islam?
The following are some of the similarities of Hinduism and Christianity:
Freewill of Man
Hinduism and Islam believe in the concept of free will where men are responsible for their actions and decisions. For Muslims and Hindus, God is full of grace to allow people to choose the path that they desire as long as they take the liability for it.
Supremacy of God
Contrary to their belief in free will, Hindus and Muslims believe that God is powerful enough to administer and accomplish his supreme and majestic will to mankind. This belief is acknowledged in the Qur’an of Islam and the Gita of Hinduism. As stated in these books, God is Sovereign over everything in heaven and earth.
Equality of God’s Love to Men
In Hinduism and Islam, it is believed that God doesn’t show favoritism and that he equally shows his love to all people. He listens to every prayer and that he cares to every creature that he has created on earth.
Responsibility of Men
Both Hindus and Islam are responsible to care for every individual. Each person should be charitable, righteous, forgiving, compassionate as part of their gratitude and duty as creations of God. They are encouraged to develop all these qualities. Apart from that, they also promote non-violence and that killing a fellow man is a sin unless it is deemed absolutely unavoidable.
Prayer of Men for God
When a Muslim or Hindu prays, they remember and recite God’s names and their mantras to create a more profound relationship to the Supreme Being. This is the reason why Muslims pray at least two to four times, while the Hindus are encouraged to preserve the connection of their mental state to its spiritual state the whole time.
Islams and Hindus are two different religions that are easy to differentiate but hard to compare. However, this article has concluded a few similarities between them which includes their belief in the freewill of man, the supremacy of God, the equality of God’s love to mankind, the responsibilities of men and the prayer of men for God.
Author: Julian Angelo
Julian studied Criminology at University in Manila and studied Theological Seminary in Davao City.