October 17th, 2012 Similarities among the monotheistic religions Among all the religions in the world the three monotheistic religions; Judaism, Christianity and Islam, make up over half the population in this world. They are also referred to as the Abrahamic religions, since they all originate from Abraham, recognizing a spiritual tradition identified with him. Even though the three have numerous differences, it should also be realized that they are very similar in their beliefs.
As monotheistic religions, they share common ancestors, their belief is in divine written scriptures, they have common rituals and practices, such as regular prayer and charity; valuing pilgrimage and sharing many common holy places; promising that actions will receive its proper rewards and punishments in the future, on earth and in an afterlife. As the Muslims and Jews believe strictly in one God, Christians similarly believe in The Trinity, in which God is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, still considering God as one, complex being.
All three religions consider God to be just, merciful and caring. The three faiths believe that God has provided humans with the basic guidelines for living. Important figures play a very special role in the fundamentals of each religion. The Jews believe in Moses, while the Christians believe in Jesus Christ, and the Muslims believe in Propehet Muhammad. All three signify their importance with a link to God, being His messenger or commonly known as a ‘Messiah’ (they are the communicators and educators sent by God). Amongst these, certain other factors link the three monotheistic creeds.
Several noteworthy aspects comprise the Sacred texts, Pilgrimage sites and Holy days. The Jews consider the Torah or the Old Testament as their sacred text, The New Testament also known as The Bible for the Christians and the Holy Quran for the Muslims. Holy days of the week for the Jews, Christians and Muslims are Saturday, Sunday and Friday respectively and they are all expected to visit their place of worship or remember God on that day. As for pilgrimage sites, Mecca and the Vatican are good examples, Jerusalem however holds great importance for all three religions.
From the three Abrahamic religions each religion that succeeds the last perceives itself as a continuation of the previous prophetic tradition: Christianity views itself as a continuation of the message that began with Prophet Moses, Islam in turn views itself as a continuation and a completion of the prophetic chain that started with Prophet Moses, passed onto Prophet Jesus and culminated in the message revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. This shows how each of the succeeding religion knowingly and professedly carried forward many of the key concepts of the preceding religions.
In my opinion the similarities underlie in the history of the religions discussed; how ideas were exchanged, and how Islam branched out from Judaism and Chritianity standing as a separate religion over the past fourteen hundred years. If we look at the three Abrahamic religions we see that they did not spread concurrently but rather came into existence in a chronological order: one after another, so that in many places often the main body of followers of the new religion consisted of converts from the one proceeding it. This was the case with middle eastern christian populations converting to Islam after its rise and expansion.
These converts unknowingly brought their specific attitudes on various religious and social problems to the new religion. A good example can be seen in the tradition of saints in Middle eastern Islamic populations, where the christian perception of saints and intercession was transferred to the newly forming Islamic communities here. Hence, we highlight how there are a number of similarities between monotheistic religions, and also trace the roots and causes of these similarities. Also observing that the essentials remain the same nevertheless leaving a few controversies in detail.