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Comparing Abrahamic Faith to Judaism and Islam

Explore the concept of Abrahamic faiths in relation to Judaism and Islam. What are the disadvantages and advantages of this approach?

Introduction:

Religion is one of the most fundamental factors in developing the life of human souls and plays a compulsory role in influencing education, civilization and culture. Although, many faiths are being followed by different religions however the followers of Islam, Christianity and Judaism have outnumbered others and these have originated from “Abrahamic Faiths” (Yunus, 2016). Abrahamic religion is followed after the name of the Prophet named as Abraham or Ibrahim (in Arabic) (Pbs.org, 2019). In these Abrahamic faiths, Judaism is the oldest faith and all other Abrahamic faiths are linked from it.

Religions such as Islam, Judaism and Christianity have all came to existence through Abrahams, though they have been a same source of existence, yet they have some of the differences and similarities on the same side (Robinson, 2016). These differences and similarities have their own disputes as well which is worth arguing. This makes a person’s mind concerned about the relations between them. This essay will be enlightening the religions diverted through Abraham individually. Moreover, this essay is based on the umbrella approach to identify the concepts of Abrahamic Faiths and how these religions are related to it (Bernstein, 2016).

Abrahamic Faith:

Abrahamic religions are originated after Abraham who lived back in 2000BC in the place name Mesopotamia who became an ancestor for many ethnic people such as Ethiopian, Arabs and Hebrew (Crosby, 2018). Many of the influential Prophets in Monotheistic religions are descendants of Abraham. These Abrahamic religions have similarities in their ethics and morals in their beliefs. Moreover, their origins and scripture are also the same and are closely linked to each other. Although there are differences in many aspects of their beliefs the basis is almost the same. Holy land was the name of the place where Abraham and his successors were settled (Pbs.org, 2019).

These lands have all been mentioned in the splendour books of Prophets such as the Quran and Bible where they had ever travelled and settled. Although today, lands mentioned have all been distributed apart forming numerous modern countries, which are Yemen, Egypt, and Iraq etc (Bernstein, 2016). And with the passage of time, these lands have always been the yards of spiritual important beings. These lands have always been a place of human rejoices and sorrow and for spiritual visits. Whilst the 4000 years passed, the traditions have brought an existence of worlds huge religions named as Judaism, Islam and Christianity (Hedley and Numbers, 2017).

Common Features in Abrahamic Religions:

As mentioned before, the Abrahamic religion shares the same attributes. The most significant common features among them all is that they are Monotheistic which means that they are obliged to worship one God instead of several Gods in other ideologies of religions. However, they use a different and distinct name of Gods in their own respective religions. The basic belief of these religions is that God is the one who is the originator and creator of the universe, is worthy of worship and has total command over the world and humanity (Robinson, 2016). The belief in Prophethood is another common feature among Abrahamic faith where God Himself chooses from mankind and gives them instructions and guidance for the human race. In Abrahamic religions, Jerusalem has immense importance and is the unifying factor in all the fundamental religions (Hedley and Numbers, 2017).

 

Abrahamic Faith in relation to Judaism and Islam

 

Abraham and Islam:

Mecca is the homeland of prophet PBUH and was amongst Quraysh tribes. Quraysh had always been managing the pilgrimage all over the Kaaba and these were the people who earn the pilgrimage in 610 A.D (Denny, 2015). This was the period which has given world’s most widely spread religion Islam and this was the first time that Islam was introduced to prophet PBUH by God through his messenger Gabriel. Three years passing by the revelation of Islam, the prophet commences approaching Mecca extrovertly. Owing to the splendour of prophet, Quraysh starts experiencing a threat which was after their religion and business (Islam101.com, 2019). The demise of prophets brought Muslims being pondered, but their successors’ sacrifices brought success for the Muslims. Also, Muslims have a core belief that their roots of faith and religious values were connected to Abraham. The context of Abraham is found in Quran (Holy Book for Muslims) second most time than any other except from the name “Moses” which is present 137 times (Denny, 2015).

The passages in the Quran are presented in details as interpreted by the Muslim scholars, showing their links to the Abraham, also present in the interpretation of Christians and Jews and in the Bible. There are many same events which are present in the holy books of Jews and Christians and are also found in the Quran and is believed by the Muslims. Abraham was praised by the God many times and evidentially present in the Quran like “follow the religion of Abraham”, “model”, “better in religion” and “friend of God” (Islam101.com, 2019). These statements encouraged the Muslims to follow the acts of Abraham and lead their lives according to the teachings of him (Denny, 2015). In addition to that, Abraham has the privilege of creating a reservation (sanctuary) in Mecca and spread the teachings of Islam, sanctuary known as “Kaaba”. Similarly, a script in the Jewish religion also discusses the event with a different context.

This demonstrates that both the religions are interconnected on their origins and their roots are based on the mutual ancestors. However, the dissimilarities lie in the beliefs and faith which creates a difference between both the followers though their holy books shared the same events as well (Denny, 2015).

Judaism Beliefs:

Judaism is the oldest and the most ancient Abrahamic religion and according to Jews, Abraham is the one who founded Hebrews. It is from Abraham’s descendant Judah after whom the name of religion was declared. Judaism has roots of Bronze Age from the Middle East. The sacred scriptures of Judaism are “Tanakh” (Hebrew Bible) which tells the basic guidelines of religion from human creation. “Tanakh” is derived from Torah, Ketuvim and Nevi’im and Talmud which include legal rulings in the Jewish religion (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2019). There are three groups in Judaism which are Conservative Judaism, Reform Judaism and Orthodox Judaism and they all have different ideologies in Jewish laws. According to Jewish law, God gave 613 commandments which are written in Torah with the customs, rules and practices advised by scholars. It also covers subjects related to rituals and prayers, personal life (inheritance, divorce, marriage, birth, death etc.) (Crosby, 2018).

They all are rooted from “Rabbinic” form of Judaism. The Jew has a firm belief that there is one God and they also believe that a “Messiah” (leader) will arrive and save the right people and fight against the wicked (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2019). The festivals in Judaism as they recall these events in their history are “Yom Kippur”, “Passover”, “Sukkot”, “Chanukkah”, “|Rosh Hashanah” and “Purim” (Bernstein, 2016). The main belief on which Judaism held is that there’s only a unit God. What the tradition of Jewish appears is that God appeared before Abraham. Moreover, it also instructed them that God is there to give special care to Hebrews who are now known as the Jews (Crosby, 2018).

Abraham and Judaism:

Jewish people are against Islam and Christianity and do not believe in the Prophets who came after Jewish prophets including Muhammad (PBUH) and Jesus. Hence, they also didn’t believe in the ideology that Jesus is their Messiah and not even consider as the son of God. Likewise, they do not even consider the teachings of Islam nor do they consider Muhammad (PBUH) as a prophet (Robinson, 2016).

Religions such as Judaism and Islam have numerous conflicts between them. Interactions have always been seen amongst them because they were both related to the Abrahamic faiths. When Islam, after came into existence started expanding amongst different lands. Since the expanding and spreading of Islam was done by Prophet (PBUH) out of Mecca, he was compelled to involve in battle with others who were denying the importance of acceptance of Islam. Similarly, Jewish had also been invaded by Prophet (PBUH) as they refuse to accept Islam but eventually, they were dominated by the Muslims and the efforts of Prophet (PBUH) (Albayrak, et al., 2018).

 

Advantages and Disadvantages of this Approach

 

Advantages:

The role of religion was essential in the creation of great civilisations and is still important to its continuation. Abrahamic religions played a critical role in the preservation of Western civilization. Judaism and Islam send a message to accept and welcome and care for fellow human beings regardless of religion. It sends a message of charity, give generously and they will be rewarded. It also warns about greed, pride and ego that taints human existence as it also explains that elevation of wealth and social status comes at to cost of causing harm to other groups and people. A simple lifestyle is virtuous in both religions. There moral teaching in each religion in relation to kindness towards neighbours. According to Islam and Judaism, kindness and helping those in need earn the favour of God or Allah.

Disadvantages:

The ideological clash between Islam and Judaism has existed since the beginning of Islam as a separate Abrahamic religion. Islam claims to have replaced what came before the religion, which is Judaism and claims itself as the “one true religion”, favoured by God. Since both Judaist and Muslims can’t be right, there is a significant political and physical conflict to prove their position as the true religion. Abrahamic faiths have a long history of spreading their beliefs by violence and forced conversions. Jews claim heirs to Abraham’s descendants, while Muslims proudly claim successor to Judaism. As Muslim believe than Quran both transcends and replaces the Torah. Islam encourages the conversion of non-muslims to Islam, in contrast to Islam, the Jewish tradition and beliefs oppose forced conversions. There is a big gap between Islam and Jewish belief as Islam encourages Jihad with a promise of heavenly life.

Although both Islam and Judaism are against the killing of innocent people, it does support killing in defence. Some Jews use a clever strategy of acting out a victim while being the oppressor. Therefore, there is a strong mistrust between the two faiths. Peace between the Abrahamic religions is highly unlikely because of the differences in beliefs and internal conflicts. There will always be conflict but that does not mean there will be constant physical fighting, eventually, humans can learn to live peacefully together.

Conclusion:

The Abrahamic religion and there are followers are those who strictly believes in monotheist who worships in one God and includes Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Abrahamic religion initiated by Abraham who received high respect in all the religions. Apart from that, all the Abrahamic religions have the same moral code and follow the same basic texture in their scriptures respectively. Judaism is therefore, considered as the most historical Abrahamic faiths which have a basic belief in “Oneness in God” and its scriptures and Prophets who linked people with God. They have scriptures called “Old Testament” which include basic codes essential for living. Despite being the oldest they do not believe in Jesus and Muhammad and their teachings. Jews mostly live in Israel and USA and contributed to politics and science. Moreover, Abrahamic faiths have always been related to the religions which accommodate them according to their faith, believes and command those religions is not different in every manner but have resemblance in many guidance, beliefs etc.

References:

  • Albayrak, T., Herstein, R., Caber, M., Drori, N., Bideci, M. and Berger, R., 2018. Exploring religious tourist experiences in Jerusalem: The intersection of Abrahamic religions. Tourism Management69, pp.285-296.
  • Aromataris, E., Fernandez, R., Godfrey, C.M., Holly, C., Khalil, H. and Tungpunkom, P., 2015. Summarizing systematic reviews: methodological development, conduct and reporting of an umbrella review approach. International journal of evidence-based healthcare13(3), pp.132-140.
  • Bernstein, E., 2016. Neighboring Faiths: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism in the Middle Ages and Today by David Nirenberg. The Journal of Medieval Religious Cultures42(2), pp.274-278.
  • Crosby, D., 2018. The Abrahamic Faiths as Forces for Good or Evil. American Journal of Theology & Philosophy39(3), pp.29-47.
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  • Denny, F., 2015. An introduction to Islam. Routledge.
  • Encyclopedia Britannica. (2019). Judaism | History, Beliefs, & Facts. [online] Available at: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Judaism [Accessed 3 Feb. 2019].
  • Facts about the Muslims & the Religion of Islam – Toll-free hotline 1-877-WHY-ISLAM. (2019). Place of Abraham in Islam, Christianity, Judaism. [online] Available at: https://www.whyislam.org/common-ground/place-of-abraham-in-islam-christianity-judaism/ [Accessed 3 Feb. 2019].
  • Hedley Brooke, J. and Numbers, R.L., 2017. Into all the World: expanding the History of Science and Religion beyond the Abrahamic Faiths. ALMAGEST8(2), pp.9-26.
  • Islam101.com. (2019). The Fundamental Articles of Faith. [online] Available at: http://www.islam101.com/dawah/articlesOfFaith.htm [Accessed 3 Feb. 2019].
  • Newworldencyclopedia.org. (2019). Abrahamic religions – New World Encyclopedia. [online] Available at: http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Abrahamic_religions [Accessed 3 Feb. 2019].
  • Pbs.org. (2019). Global Connections . Religion | PBS. [online] Available at: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/globalconnections/mideast/themes/religion/index.html [Accessed 3 Feb. 2019].
  • Robinson, G., 2016. Essential Judaism: Updated Edition: A Complete Guide to Beliefs, Customs & Rituals. Simon and Schuster.
  • Yunus, S., 2016. Prophets of Peace: A Comparative Study of Abrahamic Religions. Journal of Sociology and Education1(16), pp.1-20.

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