Islam and Buddhism are two of the most famous and celebrated religions in the history of our world. They have difference, but they also have similarities. In this articles, the latter will be discussed as thorough as possible just enough to squeeze in your brain some helpful information. Read away and take some notes.
What is Islam?
Islam is an Arabic term derived from its root word “salam” meaning peace. Islam, on the other side, means to submit to the decree of Allah. The religion teaches its followers, called the Muslims, to submit to God the Creator and to live in accordance to his law and revelations in order to attain inner peace and assurance.
The Muslims believe that the most significant truth that has been revealed to humanity by God is that no one else deserves each and everyone’s worship but the Almighty God alone. Therefore, every human being must submit to Him.
The followers of the religion of Islam are called the Muslims which is a word that means someone who completely submits to God’s will regardless of nationality or racial background, and not just the Arabs. Muslims are commanded to sustain their active submission and obedience to Allah through a life based on His message.
According to the belief of the Muslims, Islam is the only religion accepted by God making it the true natural religion. Muslims also believe that Islam is the very message considered eternal that was revealed to the messengers of God.
One of their beliefs is that all the prophets of God promote the doctrine of pure monotheism. These prophets include the men of God such as Abraham, Noah, Moses and the one considered as the last of all prophets, Muhammad. With this, the Muslims believe that Muhammad was not the founder of Islam, but rather its final prophet.
The Muslims count on their belief that God revealed his final and universal message to Muhammad for the benefit of all human beings. They believe that God completely consummated the covenant he pledged with Abraham, one of God’s greatest prophets.
The Muslims also follow the five pillars of Islam which consists of five responsibilities that everyone of them are obliged to obey so that they will live in goodness in accordance to their faith. Their duties include the following: The Shahadah or declaration of faith; Salah or prayer of 5 times daily; Zakat or mercy giving; Sawm or fasting during Ramadan; and the Hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca.
What is Buddhism?
Buddhism has been existing in this world for 2,500 years already with 376 million followers in the whole world. The religion was formed as a result of the Buddha’s journey to enlightenment. Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism are its two main sects. Buddhists can also worship anywhere especially in temples and homes.
Buddhism is considered a way of life by most of its followers. It is a heritage that centers on the spiritual reinforcement of an individual to help him attain a profound awareness into the natural way of life in its truest sense. This is called the state of nirvana which is the path of Siddharta Gautama the Buddha who journeyed to enlightenment in the sixth century BC.
Buddhists do not believe in a god, unlike most religions. They hold their belief that nothing is constant except the possibility of change, and that life is both eternal and fleeting and is exposed to difficulties and vagueness. They affirm that in order to attain enlightenment, one must carry out righteousness, wisdom and meditation.
The Buddhists concluded that life is endless because of reincarnation where an individual undergoes a cycle of life, death and rebirth while going through countless discomfort during the whole course of a lifetime and another. On the other hand, life is also impermanent because nothing, including joy and trouble, lasts for infinity.
Buddhists believe that a time will come when they will all be seated under the Bodhi tree which they consider as the tree of awakening. Just like Siddhartha Gautama the Awakened One, they also want to be completely occupied in the path of meditation and be directed from suffering until they become enlightened.
When the Buddha attained awareness on the basic truths of Buddhism, he formulated what the Buddhists call the Four Noble Truths, namely the dukkha which means the truth about misery; the samudaya which means misery happens when the longing for pleasure or another being begins; the nirodhu which means the truth that this longing can be eliminated; and the magga which means that the elimination happens when a methodological way is followed.
What are the similarities of Islam and Buddhism?
Regardless of the Islam and Buddhism’s number of disparities, these two have some similarities as researched by the 14th Dalai Lama together with an assembly of Muslim scholars. They have partnered to interpret the relationship of the two religions and their major commonalities in the spiritual aspect. Their key matches are listed below.
Belief in their Founders
The Muslims and Buddhists both have faith in the persons who established their religions: Siddharta Gautama the Buddha and the Prophet Muhammad respectively. The Awakened One was well respected for his wisdom and enlightenment, while Muhammad was well loved because he was believed to be chosen by the Allah to reveal the message of the Qur’an to the Muslims.
Religious and Ethical Guiding Principles
The followers of Islam and Buddhism follow a set of standards and guiding principles: the Eightfold Path or the Middle Path of the Buddhists followed to achieve enlightenment and survive suffering; and the Sharia of the Muslims which is their basic spiritual law and concept toward religious conviction and divine help.
Moral Responsibilities of Men
The Muslims and Buddhist hold the belief of being morally sound in their lives. They follow the command to be compassionate and merciful to all creations. They also believe that every human must be detached from this world, including every person’s ego and its worldly passions and desires. Through that moral responsibilities, followers of both religions believe that they are saved.
State of Human Sanctification
Sanctification means to make holy or to purify. In Islam and Buddhism, the possibility that a human being can be purified from all the impurities of this world is highly regarded. Thus, the Muslims and Buddhists are convicted to desire for this state. They also believe that every human being has the capacity to have supra-rational knowledge which is the source of salvation and enlightenment.
The Essence of Spiritual Practices
Every Muslim and Buddhist follow strict compliance in their spiritual practices. They have already made fervent prayers and meditations as part of their lifestyle.
Islam and Buddhism are two religions that are very different; however, they also have notable similarities that such as their utmost faith in Muhammad and Buddha, respectively; their guiding principles in life such as the Sharia and Middle Way; the moral responsibilities of their followers; the possible state of sanctification for each human being; and the essence and importance of spiritual practices in their lives.
Author: Julian Angelo
Julian studied Criminology at University in Manila and studied Theological Seminary in Davao City.