Judaism and Islam Similarities Term Paper

Pages: 7 (2088 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

¶ … Judaism and Islam have been completely overlooked by the general followers of the two groups because of consistent political conflicts and warfare confrontations. These wars and political conflicts have created feelings of hatred between the Muslims and the Jews and have negatively influenced the political environment. However, the scholars of both the communities have been very active in recognizing the similarities of both these religions and have been trying to fill the gaps of hatred by informing the masses of the unity of philosophy of these two religions. The scholars believe that both these religions have identical foundations, the identical central principle of monotheism and practically the same scriptural and genealogical systems.

One of the main reasons people tend to compare and contrast the two religions is because they both not only admire Abraham but also other Prophets as well. This serves as a common starting point between the two religions and henceforth lays the inevitable set of identical values shared by the followers of the two great religions.

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Formerly, when scholars and the academia had been contrasting and comparing two or more than two religions, they had been inclined to concentrate on the variation, differences and discrepancy amid them. That had been inclined to give emphasis to the disparity and space amid religions. This method produced very unconstructive results as the people of different religious communities felt hesitant and tentative about sharing time with each other. However, in recent times, the religious scholars and academia have regained consciousness as they have been making efforts to understand religions by highlighting the commonalities amid them. This paper will argue that Judaism and Islam share not only common foundations but also share identical values of life. Initially the paper will assess the similarities in both these religions and subsequently, the differences between the two religions will be evaluated. This approach will provide us with a comprehensive background to judge the extent of similarities between Judaism and Islam.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Judaism and Islam Similarities Assignment

Similarities between Islam and Judaism

Belief in one God

Both, Judaism and Islam, believe in the concept of one God; God that created the universe; God that maintains the workings of the universe and God that will ultimately end time. Both, Judaism and Islam believe that God is the source and foundation of all that is real and alive and that amongst the various attributes of God, Care for its entire creation, Justice, Righteous, Forgiving and Kind are his most looked for characteristics by his people (Paul Mojzes and Leonard Swidler, 2002). Clerics and scholars call this belief, "monotheism." Jacob Neusner and Tamara Sonn (1999) give an excellent description of the concept of monotheism in both, Judaism and Islam. They write:

What are monotheist religions, and what issues do they face in common? A monotheist religion asserts that there is only one God, transcendent over nature, who rules all creation and governs humanity in the here and now. Three religions take that view, all of them calling upon the Hebrew scriptures of ancient Israel ("the Old Testament" of the Christian Bible, "the written Torah" of the one whole Torah, oral and written, of Judaism). There, the three monotheist religions concur, God made himself manifest, principally through Moses, the prophet. And they agree that God further revealed himself and his will in other documents: the New Testament and Christ, for Christianity, the Qur'an and Muhammad, for Islam, and the Oral Torah and its sages, for Judaism, respectively. The three monotheisms, further, confront one and the same problem, and the basic logic of monotheism dictates the range of solutions that each of the monotheisms addresses: the problem of God's justice and mercy and how these are to be reconciled with the condition of the everyday world (Jacob Neusner and Tamara Sonn, 1999, pg, 2)."

Similarities in the Law

Clerics recognize the importance given to the law in both Islam and Judaism. Scholars believe that both religions are basically based on laws revealed from the divine source. The Jews believe that the Torah [the Divine Book revealed to Moses (May Peace Be Upon Him)] is the ultimate source for legal and moral guidance, whereas, the Muslims believe that for the Quran [the Divine Book revealed to Muhammad (May Peace Be Upon Him)]. Jacob Neusner and Tamara Sonn (1999) provide a thorough analysis of the similarities between the laws of Islam and Judaism. They write:

Both are religions of law, both monotheisms conceive of God in the same terms, both place heavy stress upon the formation of a society that conforms to God's will, expressed in verbal revelation having to do with social norms, and both set forth through jurisprudence an elaborate and articulated message. Furthermore in their unfolding history, in their nurture of distinct religious systems within the framework of the Torah for Judaism, and Shari a for Islam, the diverse formations of both religious traditions appeal to authoritative and generative statements, which form a court of final appeal in the quest for the true faith (Jacob Neusner and Tamara Sonn, 1999, pg 3)."

Judaism and Islam are Traditional Religions

Both, Islam and Judaism possess values that have been passed on from one generation to another, where the initial generation had been that of Moses, in the case of Judaism and Mohammad, in the case of Islam. Furthermore, both these religions believe that their Divine Books are not an interpretation of the word of God by the Prophet but rather they are the exact speech of God. Jacob Neusner and Tamara Sonn (1999) further illustrate this subject. They write:

Both Judaism and Islam present themselves as traditional religions. In other words, they are religions that receive revelation from God through prophets and hand on that revealed truth from generation to generation. 'Tradition,' then, means that which is handed on out of the past; a traditional religion identifies a particular point at which, in the past, a truth was set forth to be preserved and handed on for generations to come, to serve as authority for all time. A traditional religion attributes to God the origin of such an enduring truth, and Judaism and Islam concur that God gives truth through prophets, men chosen for that purpose. Both agree, moreover, that God's revelation takes the form of specific, verbal statements; God reveals not only Himself but what He wants from human beings. Then the tradition of Judaism or of Islam addresses not only God's word, but God's exact words, sentences formulated in a particular language by God for the prophet to hand on ultimately to us (Jacob Neusner and Tamara Sonn, 1999, pg 18)."

The concept of Institutional authority

It is clear that both religions have strong roots in the legal aspect of human life. This leads to the conception of politics, that is to say, who has the authority over whom? The politics of the law governing both these religions are the same, more or less. The basic power of authority lies with God and the humans are meant to carry out the orders of God, as revealed in the sacred books of each religion. Jacob Neusner and Tamara Sonn (1999) further illustrate this subject. They write:

In the case of Judaism we see how power is differentiated, parceled out between God and human beings, explaining the division of sanctions among a variety of institutional centers. In the case of Islam it is assumed that all law originates with God, but that human beings are entrusted with the challenge of understanding and implementing the law. The science of Islamic law therefore determines the relationship of law to the state and its leaders. The issue confronting Islamic and Judaic legal theory is thus the same: the realization of power in concrete form (Jacob Neusner and Tamara Sonn, 1999, pg 103)."

Other Similarities between Judaism and Islam

Both, Judaism and Islam believe that Human beings are the most superior creatures of God and that they (the human beings) along with universe have been created with mysteries that have to be solved by human beings. This philosophy makes the likelihood of sustained growth and development. Furthermore, both these religions believe in the after life, that is to say, that notwithstanding the pains and sufferings of the past and present times, they will ultimately enter paradise, where they will live happily every after (Paul Mojzes and Leonard Swidler, 2002).

Furthermore, both the religions believe that God and humans should communicate with each other. God communicated his commandments through his two Prophets, who were, Moses and Mohammad (May Peace Be upon Both of Them). The people communicate through their prayers. In addition, both religions believe that God has not only provided guidance to his people but also the wisdom to think critically and apply His commandments appropriately (Paul Mojzes and Leonard Swidler, 2002).

Areas of Differences

The difference between Judaism and Islam is that Jews consider Moses (May Peace Be upon Him) as not only a Prophet of God, who showed them the way to eternal peace, but they also see… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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