Islam and Christianity are just two of the world’s largest religions in the with similarities in history and tradition. Both have similarities in their faith and belief with a common place of origin which is in the Middle East. Both are also known as Abrahamic religions because they came through Abraham. Christians and Muslims consider Ishmael to be the “Father of the Arabs” and Isaac as the “Father of the Hebrews”. Read on as we discuss the most common similarities of Islam and Christianity.
BELIEF IN ONE GOD
Both Muslims and Christians consider themselves to be believers of one God. They believe in the oneness of God who is the Sustainer of the universe.
Jesus Christ according to Qur’an 4:157, was raised to Heaven by god (4:158). For these religions, Jesus is the Jewish Messiah of the Hebrew scripture, who they somewhat believe as the messenger sent by God.
The Old Testament in the Christian Bible emphasizes that Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah. In the Islamic religion, Jesus is one of the most important prophets who is on par with Moses, Muhammad, Abraham and Noah. Both Christians and Muslims believe that Jesus will return from Heaven in the appointed time.
There have been many prophets in Islam and Christianity such as Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon, John the Baptist, Jesus, Mohammed, and many more whom they believe were sent by God. The two religions might have different views on the prophets, but they both believe that people should follow the holy scriptures of God and the teaching of the prophets.
The Muslims and Christians believe that the “Prophet” Jesus Christ was born of Mary, who is the only woman mentioned by name in the Qur’an which states that she was chosen above all other women to bring forth Jesus by virgin birth. One interesting fact is that Mary was mentioned more times in the Qur’an than in the Bible.
Christians and Muslims both consider Angels to be very powerful non-human created beings who carry out the will of God. Both believe that some of them fell into sin and became evil. The two religions also believe in Angel Gabriel who serves as God’s messenger known as “the angel of revelation” because he is often chosen to deliver important messages to His people. For Muslims, angels are created from light.
Both Christians and Muslims consider prayer as a very significant part of their faith in the Most High. Muslims are obligated to have a Pilgrimage to the Holy City of Mecca; while some Christians have the desire to travel to Jerusalem where the Messiah lived.
HELL AND HEAVEN/PARADISE
Christians and Muslims both believe in life after death either in paradise or in hell. According to the Bible and the Qur’an, unbelievers will be cast into hell for eternity to receive spiritual and physical suffering stated in Matthew 25:46 and Qur’an 75:12. Both believe that people will experience either an life of bliss in Paradise for the good and faithful Muslims and Christians or a life of torment in Hell for those who are not.
For Christians, hell is a place of torment in the lake of burning sulfur out of the presence of God where unbelievers can never escape. For Muslims, hell is a place of eternal punishment in fire for those who are non-Muslims and also for those people whose works and faith were not enough.
For Christians, heaven or paradise is the place where God dwells which is the eternal home of those who have been saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. For Muslims, it is a place of incomparable bliss where a garden with trees and food situates, and where the desires of faithful Muslims are fulfilled.
The two religions also believe in the existence of Satan, the Devil which can be found in both the Qur’an and the Bible. They believe that Satan is evil who does his best to tempt people to abandon their faith in God to follow him. In Christianity, Satan is reckoned to be a fallen angel who rebelled against God; and provoked Adam and Eve to sin against God according to Scripture, specifically in Genesis 3, The Fall of Man.
One the other hand, Muslims regard Satan is the Devil who refused to bow for Adam. He persuades people to commit evil through his work of deception who desires to destroy humanity. He is called Iblis in Islam, a fallen Jinn. It is important to note that Jinn are not angels nor men, but created beings with free wills who were created from fire in contrast to angels created from light according to Qur’an 2:268; 114:1-6.
The Bible is the Holy Book of the Christians containing the Word of God. For Muslims, the holy book is the Qur’an. Many think that Muslims would would not trust the authority of the Bible since they have the Qur’an; but on the contrary, Muslims believe that the Bible is a holy writing and does not differ from what the Qur’an says.
Muslims think that some parts of the Bible are a revelation from God while other parts were given to Muhammad as a remedy. They have also identified three sets of books from the Bible as a divine revelation. The New Testament and the Quran both show the account of the life and works of Jesus. Both the Bible and the Qur’an feature the Ten Commandments given by God to Moses on the Mount Sinai, and these two religions try to live in obedience to this Mosaic Law.
The Muslims and the Christians alike believe that the false prophet shall soon come before the Judgment Day, and no one knows when it will come to pass. The Bible mentions no specific name for this Antichrist, but the Holy Book states that there will be a False Messiah and he will be defeated by Jesus in his Second Coming. Most Christians associate the Antichrist with the Satan, as the figure of evil who uses people in politics, technology and even in religions to stir up persecution and disorder. Just like in Christianity, the Muslims also perceive the Antichrist as the false messiah who will appear before the Day of Resurrection.
Both Islam and Christianity believe in Judgment, and the last day when all people on Earth will die and rise again. These two religions interpret the last day differently according to their Scriptures, but the result is just the same. Both of them prophesy that everyone will be judged according to how they lived their lives on Earth when the Judgment Day finally comes.
Christians believe that the final judgment by God Almighty will come to all people in every nation. There will be people who will receive punishment or damnation, while others will rise from the dead and will be glorified to be with God in heaven for eternity. This concept of Judgment Day in Christian theology is present in all divine gospels; and it is believed to occur on the day of resurrection according to John 12:48, where God will judge all people. Matthew 25:46 says, good and faithful Christians will go to heaven, while all others go to hell.
Muslims call the Judgment Day as their Last Day when the world will be destroyed according to the Qur’an. When the Last Day happens, people will be raised from the dead for Allah’s most anticipated judgment; and finally, they will be sent to their eternal destination which is in Hell for those who do not believe in God and have disobeyed his law, or in Paradise for those who trust God and do good deeds while they lived. Basically for Muslims, the judgment of God will be based on their deeds.
Muslims and Christians believe that resurrection means all people who are saved by God will be raised from death to eternal life, while unbelievers will be sentenced to damnation according to 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 and Qur’an 3:77; 15:25;75:36-40; 22:6.
We have stated all these similarities between Islam and Christianity, it is also important to mark that the first to be founded in the two religions is Christianity. We could note a few differences between these two, such as the unbelief of Muslims in the divinity of Jesus and and his on the cross to save people from the bondage of sin. They also do not believe in the concept of the Holy Trinity.
On the other hand, Christians do not acknowledge Muhammad as a prophet. Their days and ways of worship differ completely. Fasting and abstinence are obligatory among Muslims, while it is not required among Christians because of liberty in Christ. Islam and Christianity have similarities and difference but clearly, these two religions are mutually exclusive. They are entirely opposite because of one thing – the atonement.
Someone died and rose again for the complete salvation of the Christians, and can only be attained by faith not by works. On the contrary, Muslims need to strive for the salvation through good works and sacrifices. These religions claim that they are the only true path to God; but the truth is, just one of them is right.
Author: Julian Angelo
Julian studied Criminology at University in Manila and studied Theological Seminary in Davao City.