Comparing and Contrasting Christianity to Islam – Islam

Islam regards Jesus (Isa) and other individuals such as Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Moses to have been prophets, or God’s (Allah’s) messengers with the last messenger being Mohammad (Ibrahim, 1997). According to Islam, the Holy Qur’an – the religious verbal text from which Muslims learn of the divine guidance and direction for humanity – was a revelation to Mohammad from Allah (Ibrahim, 1997). Islam is thus regarded by Muslims to be “the acceptance of and obedience to the teachings of God which he revealed to his last prophet, Muhammad” (Ibrahim, 1997, p. 45). Accordingly Islam is based on the view of a unique incomparable deity without any son, partner and only one deserving praise and worship (Shakir, 2007, Quran [English], 112: 1-4).

The origins of Islam have been attributed to the rise of Mecca in later years of 500s CE (Watt, 1953, as qtd. in Sivers, 2003). Out of its central location on the Mediterranean-India trade route, Mecca enlarged and became endowed with wealth at a rapid rate (Watt, 1953, as qtd. in Sivers, 2003). Centrally located in the city was a pagan pilgrimage center – Ka’ba – that was used as the meeting point for nomadic tribes in its environs (Sivers, 2003). With its enlargement and increasing wealth, social tensions between slaves and merchant clans became one of its characteristics (Watt, 1953, as qtd. in Sivers, 2003). Growing in this area, Muhammad, a poor-orphan-descendant of the guardian family of the Ka’ba, had the personality that enabled him to receive revelations that would promote religious and social reforms (Watt, 1953, as qtd. in Sivers, 2003). Out of resistance from the merchant clans to accept such reforms, Muhammad, his family and the few followers he had amassed were forced to immigrate to the city of Medina which was in the north of Mecca (Watt, 1953, as qtd. in Sivers, 2003).

At Medina, Muhammad is thought to have formulated his reforms into a constitution, a legal system that the growing subscribers to the reforms would ascribe to (Watt, 1953, as qtd. in Sivers, 2003). To overcome the resistance of the Meccans, raids were used and two years prior to Muhammad’s death they surrendered (Watt, 1953, as qtd. in Sivers, 2003). Following the victory, Muhammad is thought to have had the Ka’ba cleansed to rid it off pagan deities and sought conversion of tribes of Arabia by sending out messengers (Watt, 1953, as qtd. in Sivers, 2003). After his death, a series of four caliphs, drawing inspiration from Muhammad but devoid of his revelation were able to overcome dissenting individuals thus curtailing the religious zeal of the Arabs and forming the basis for further spread of Islam (Sivers, 2003). Go to part 3 here.

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