As we have already learned, the religions of the book – Christianity, Judaism, and Islam – all share many similarities with regards to their beliefs about God and His prophets. In particular, Christianity and Islam seem to be more closely related to each other than either is to Judaism; the main outstanding difference between the two would be that Islam does not believe that Jesus was God on Earth put into flesh, and that God (or Allah) is the only God with no other equal. Christians believe that there is only one God, but they also believe that God is represented as three equally powerful and divine symbols: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Aside from this main difference between the two religions of the book, the two are quite similar, and there were a few similarities that particularly caught my eye.
One of the most surprising similarities that I found between the two religions was that they both teach their followers to love their enemies, non-believers, and wrongdoers. In the Quran, there is a statement about this in Sura 60: “Do not make friends with those who are enemies of Mine and yours. Would you show them kindness…. If you persist in jihad and seeking My pleasure, would you secretly show them love as well?” (Sura 60). From my initial beliefs about Islam, Muslims seem to be less friendly to non-believers than Christians to non-believers. Even in the passage mentioned above, the first statement was to not make friends with the enemies. But even after this, they still show love and kindness to those people. This is similar to the Bible’s teaching of turning the other cheek and loving one’s enemies (Matthew 5). For the longest time, I believed that Christianity was unique in this aspect; teaching people to love their enemies does not seem like something that any other religion would teach.
Another notable similarity that I found was that both say that God formed man out of the earth. This seems like a minor similarity, but it’s also something that I would not expect seeing out of the Quran. In the New International Version of the Bible, it states in Genesis 2:6 that God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed life into him, and the Quran says, “He created man from dry clay like earthen vessels…” (Sura 55). These are quite similar stories of the creation of man, one being of dust and the other of clay. I knew that Islam told of a single powerful God who made the universe, but this small detail of what man was made from was not something that I anticipated finding in the Quran.
As a matter of fact, I would never have anticipated finding myself reading portions of the Quran. Being a Christian myself, I never tried drawing more parallels to Islam and Christianity aside from the obvious things (monotheistic, each has a religious text, etc.). After reading some entries in the Quran, I see that there are many similarities between the two than I had originally thought, like the loving enemies and man made from the earth. With that being said, I believe that the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive, but there is still a major distinction between the two that needs to be made and kept clear: that one believes that Jesus is God and the other not. However, that is for another story.
Word Count: 573