Islam is one of the three major Abrahamic religions. Judaism gave birth to Christianity, and Islam arouse from the two in the 7th century. Like Jews and Christians, Muslims believe in one ubiquitous, omnipotent deity who created humans, the Earth and the entire cosmos. Islam acknowledges its origins in the other two religions, but Muslims see Islam as the final and ultimate version, perceiving the other two as earlier versions of Islam.
Islam's Connections to Judaism
Allah is not the name of the Islamic God, but instead the general term for God in Arabic. In other words, when Jews speak of God, it is the same as when Muslims speak of Allah; they believe they are talking about the same deity. In that Islam grew out of the Jewish tradition, Muslims see their faith as the culmination of Judaism; it is not a new religion, but instead the correct form of it. Judaism, according to the Islamic belief, was simply an earlier form of Islam. Some Jewish prophets in the Torah, including Abraham and Moses, also appear in Quran. The Quran tells these stories slightly differently; for instance, Abraham is on the verge of sacrificing his son Ishmael, the ancestor of Arabs, rather than Isaac, as the Jewish and Christian traditions teach.
Islam's Connection to Christianity
Since both Christianity and Islam were born from the Jewish tradition, they share many commonalities. Many Christian prophets and figures play roles in the Quran. Islam reveres the central figure of Christianity, Jesus Christ, as a prophet, though it believes the Christian idea of Jesus as God to be a form of blasphemy. In Islam, Jesus is not a god, though he had an extraordinary birth to the Virgin Mary. Jesus' life was an example of piety, and predicted the arrival of the Prophet Muhammad. Muslims also believe that Allah saved Jesus before his execution. The Quran teaches Muslims to respect Jews and Christians as "Peoples of the Book," and many Islamic countries extend protection to Christians and Jews in their lands.
Islam in India
Islam has a special role in India. That country, birthplace of Hinduism and home to the largest population of Hindus in the world, counts Islam as its second largest religion. India has about 130 million Muslims, the second-largest population of Muslims in the world. The connection between Islam and Hinduism is at times beneficial, as over the centuries they have influenced each other's achievements in music, architecture and cuisine. However, the two religions are vastly different. Muslims worship a single deity, while Hindus worship aspects of a single deity with different names and images. Islam follows an authoritative doctrine and a stringent moral code, while Hinduism has many different doctrines and ethic beliefs. The Muslim invasion of India began around the year 1000; Mahmud of Ghazni invaded India from Afghanistan, and destroyed Hindu temples. Conflicts have erupted over the centuries, with both sides claiming damages from the other.
Islam's Connection to Baha'i
The Baha'i religion is one of the youngest major world religions, and it draws its foundation from other faiths, including Islam. The religion was born from the Shiite branch of Islam. Baha'i sees itself as a descendant of the Abrahamic religions, and reveres the prophets Abraham, Jesus and Muhammad, but also believes that a final prophet will arrive. Muslims executed Baha'i's religious founder, known as the Bab, accusing him of blasphemy for teaching that Muhammad was not the final prophet. Some practitioners of the Baha'i faith argue that the Quran does not specify that Muhammad is the final prophet and that readers can interpret it to suggest another prophet may arrive.
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