Despite having vast cultural differences, Christians and Muslims hold several similar beliefs. Founded in 610 A.D. when the angel Gabriel revealed the Quran to Muhammad, the foundation of Islam is rooted in many of the same sacred narratives, holy characters and basic tenets found in Christian theology. Over the centuries, Christianity and Islam have developed into the world's two largest religions, attracting more than 3.1 billion followers.
Belief in One God
When Christians refer to God and Muslims refer to Allah, they are describing the same all-powerful, all-knowing, spiritual being. Both religions believe this supreme deity is responsible for creating all life in the entire universe and that he is the sole ruler and judger. Holy Christian and Islamic texts describe the Almighty Father as one who dispenses justice yet bestows forgiveness and offers unconditional love. However, there are profound philosophical variations between the two religions about the nature of God and Allah and his relationship with humanity.
Descendants of Abraham
Abraham is one of the key figures in the creation stories included in the Bible and Quran. Both texts chronicle the event of when God revealed himself to Abraham, who was put through a series of test to prove his faithfulness. Christianity claims its followers are descendants of Abraham’s second son, Isaac, while Muslims descend from his first son, Ishmael. Abraham is deeply respected in both religions, but he is held in higher esteem by Muslims, who view him as one of the many holy prophets tasked with guiding humans in their spiritual journey.
Eternal Afterlife and Damnation
The Bible and Quran are filled with tumultuous stories about choosing between good and evil, making sacrifices for God or Allah, and giving into the temptations presented by demons. Followers of both religions are promised that if they follow the moral laws contained in the scriptures with complete faith, then they will be rewarded in the afterlife with eternal salvation in paradise. The texts also warn unbelievers and immoral beings that they will be sentenced to an eternity of punishment. Christians call these spiritual places heaven and hell, while Muslims know them as jannah and jahannam.
A Shared Spirit of Celebrations
Despite the many shared beliefs between Christians and Muslims, the two faiths do not commemorate any of the same holidays. However, a few similarities are found within the spiritual meaning of their celebrations. Both religious calendars are filled with dates honoring important prophets in the holy texts. Muslims pay tribute to Muhammad's reception of the divine revelation by fasting during Ramadan. Likewise, Christians memorialize the death and resurrection of Jesus by fasting during Lent. Eid al-Adha, which celebrates Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Ishmael, is similar to the Christian Christmas holiday in that families gather to feast, exchange presents and offer thanks for the blessings in their lives.
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