Islam and Judaism: Judaism and Islam are one of the few religions that have monotheistic belief systems. Both are among the Abrahamic religions. However, Judaism is the oldest of the Abrahamic religions and hence the Jews trace their lineage through Prophet Ibrahim A.S son, Prophet Isaac A.S.
Islam was the final religion of the Abrahamic religions and so the Muslims follow the seal of the Prophets, Prophet Muhammad Peace and Blessings upon Him along with all other Prophets sent by Allah. Following we will throw light on the differences and similarities between Islam and Judaism.
In our last post we talked about Main Differences between the Quran and the Bible and today we shall compare Islam and Judaism.
Similarities Between Islam and Judaism
As evident from the verse in Holy Quran below, the basic guidelines for both the religions were similar initially:
Also, in the light of the Hadith below, Prophet Muhammad PBUH would refer to stories of Bani Israel:
1- One God
Both Muslims and Jews strictly believe in one God. The name they call God however differs. Muslims call God Allah Almighty and Jews commonly call God HaShem. They both believe that God has ultimate power and has no offspring. Both pray directly to God without any intercessor.
2- No images and statues
In Islam, like Judaism, images of God and Prophets are prohibited. Images as representative of God are forbidden. This is due to the utmost reverence Muslims and Jews have for God.
3- Respect for Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) A.S
Both religions give utmost respect to Prophet Ibrahim A.S. They understand that though his father was an idol worshiper he received the divine guidance of the Almighty. They take pride to be associated with him.
Both men and women are to be modestly dressed in both Islam and Judaism. In Islam, women are preferred to cover their hair and wear a loose-fitting outer covering. While Orthodox Jews men are to wear hats and women wear modest dresses that do not reveal their bodies.
5- Food restriction
Both Jews and Christians are strictly forbidden to eat pork and both are to follow a specific requirement for slaughtering. However, the technicality of butchering differs as Muslims’ way is known as halal and Jew’s way is known as kosher food.
Differences Between Islam and Judaism
1- Place of Worship
The place of worship for Muslims is Mosque. Makkah and Madina are two sacred places of worship. Whereas for Jews, Synagogues are the places of worship. The Western Wall of the Temple of Jerusalem is sacred to Jews.
2- Belief in Prophets
Jews do not believe in any Prophet that came after the Jewish Prophets, i.e, Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) A.S, Prophet Ishaq (Isaac) A.S, Prophet (Jacob) Yaqoob A.S and Prophet (Moses) Musa A.S. They believe in Prophets of Israel mentioned in the Holy Book, Tanakh.
Muslims believe in all the 124,000 Prophets that Allah sent including Musa A.S, Isa A.S (Jesus) and Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings upon Him).
3- Holy Books
Muslims believe in all the four scriptures sent by Allah through messengers. However, Muslims believe as the text of the three scriptures has been altered so the Holy Quran is the one that is considered to be the authentic code of life. Along with that, Sunnah and Hadith( words and actions recorded) of Holy Prophet Peace and Blessings Upon Him are also given importance in day-to-day life.
The following verse from the Holy Quran indicates Jews altering words in the speech at the time of Prophet Muhammad PBUH.
Jews, on the other hand, follow Torah and Tanakh which is the Jewish Bible.
4- Holy Days
Friday is a Holy day for Muslims while Sabbath is a day for joy and prayer for Jews. Other days important for Muslims is the entire month of Ramadan followed by Eid ul Fitr and Eid ul Adha at the end of the pilgrimage (Haj). For Jews, important holy days are Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Simchat Torah, Chanukah, Tu BiShvat, Passover, Lag BaOmer and Shavout.
The following Hadith states the difference in fasting on the day of Ashura:
5- Acts of Worship
Muslims pray 5 times a day along with practicing pillars that include Pilgrimage to Makkah, that is Hajj, almsgiving (Zakat), fasting for the month of Ramadan and giving testimony that there is one God and Muhammad Peace and Blessings upon Him is Allah’s messenger.
Jews have three times daily prayers. The fourth prayer is on the Shabbat. During the new year, Yom Kippur, Jews fast and pray for forgiveness from God.
Other differences between Jews and Muslims
Other differences include :
- Muslims believe in Jesus’ resurrection while Jews deny it.
- Muslims don’t have a specific symbol representing Islam while Jews’ symbol is the Star of David, Menorah.
- The language used in Islam as original source is Arabic while Hebrew is the Jews language for religious purposes.
- Polygamy of up to four wives is permissible (though not practiced widely anymore) in Islam, but Jews adhere to monogamy.
As Muslims, following religion that means ‘Peace’, we have been advised to be respectful to everyone including Jews, in spite of our differences. It is evident from the Hadith below:
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What are the main differences between Judaism, Christianity and Islam?
Jews do not believe in any of the prophets that came after the Jewish prophets. The Prophets they don’t believe in include Jesus and Prophet Muhammad PBUH. Hence, they are not believers in the concept of Jesus as the Messiah and the son of God. Likewise, they do not believe in the teachings of Islam too as Muhammad’s Peace and Blessings upon Him were its Messenger.
Q. Does Judaism have a holy book?
The Jewish holy text is known as Tanakh. It is the “Hebrew Bible.” Tanakh includes the same books as the Old Testament in the Christian Bible, but their order is slightly different. The Torah (that is the first five books of the Tanakh) specifically outlines laws for Jews to follow. It’s also at times known as the Pentateuch.
Q. What are the similarities between Judaism and Islam?
Both Judaism and Islam have monotheistic belief systems. They believe in one God and hold most of the Prophets similar. Both Jews and Muslim view Jerusalem as a holy city.
Q. What is the main difference of opinion on Jesus Christ between Islam and Judaism?
Islam teaches that Jesus was amongst the prophets of God. Islam and Holy Quran condemn that Jesus was the Son of God and hence the concept of the Trinity. Muslims believe the creation of Jesus was similar to the creation of Adam A.S. Muslims believe that Jesus was raised and that he will be resurrected before the day of judgement. Jews on the other hand do not believe in the prophets after the Jewish prophets, including Jesus and Muhammad.
Q. What is the Jewish view of God?
Jews believe that there is only one God. God doesn’t have a body or a gender. God created the entire universe without help. They believe God is omnipresent and omnipotent. God has always exited and is merciful. These views are very much similar to the Islamic concept of God too.