What are the differences between Judaism and Islam?
The main differences between the two religions:
1) One difference is that Judaism believes that the covenant that God made with the Children of Israel through the Torah was eternal and never to be abrogated. As the Torah says, "Thus, even while they [the Jewish people] are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject or obliterate them, lest I break my covenant with them by destroying them. For I am the Lord their God; I will remember them because of the covenant I made with their original ancestors whom I brought out from the land of Egypt, in the sight of the nations, so that I might be their God."(Leviticus 26:44). Also in the Zabur (Psalms) 105:6-11, "O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen. He [is] the LORD our God: his judgments [are] in all the earth. He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word [which] he commanded to a thousand generations. Which [covenant] he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac; And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, [and] to Israel [for] an everlasting covenant: Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance:"
Whereas Islam believes that when the Jewish people rejected Jesus as their Messiah, they were no longer God's chosen people and that is why the Jewish Temple was destroyed and they were exiled out of the Land of Judea less than 40 years after Jesus. As Jesus says in Matt 24:2, "And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." Although Islam DOES believe that prior to Jesus, the Jews were Allah's chosen people as the Qur'an says, "O Children of Israel! Call to mind My favour which I bestowed on you and that I preferred you to all others." Qur'an 2:47. And also in Qur'an 45:16: "And verily we gave the Children of Israel the Scripture and the Command and the Prophethood, and provided them with good things and favoured them above (all) peoples"; Qur'an 29:27, "And We bestowed on him Isaac and Jacob, and We established the prophethood and the Scripture among his seed, and We gave him his reward in the world, and lo! in the Hereafter he verily is among the righteous. Qur'an 19.058: "Those were some of the prophets on whom Allah did bestow His Grace,- of the posterity of Adam, and of those who We carried (in the Ark) with Noah, and of the posterity of Abraham and Israel of those whom We guided and chose. Whenever the Signs of (Allah) Most Gracious were rehearsed to them, they would fall down in prostrate adoration and in tears."
From the time of Jesus to Prophet Muhammad, Allah's "chosen people" were the Nazareens (Nasara), the original Jewish followers of Jesus who rejected the divinity of Jesus (also called unitarians as opposed to the trinitarians). As the Qur'an says in 61.6: "And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said: "O Children of Israel! I am the messenger of Allah (sent) to you, confirming the Law (which came) before me, and giving Glad Tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad." But when he came to them with Clear Signs, they said, "this is evident sorcery!"
And also in the Qur'an 3.50: "'(I have come to you), to attest the Law which was before me. And to make lawful to you part of what was (Before) forbidden to you; I have come to you with a Sign from your Lord. So fear Allah, and obey me. "'It is Allah Who is my Lord and your Lord; then worship Him. This is a Way that is straight.'" When Jesus found Unbelief on their part He said: "Who will be My helpers to (the work of) Allah?" Said the disciples: "We are Allah's helpers: We believe in Allah, and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims."
And again in the Qur'an 61.14: "O ye who believe! Be ye helpers of Allah: As said Jesus the son of Mary to the Disciples, "Who will be my helpers to (the work of) Allah?" Said the disciples, "We are Allah's helpers!" then a portion of the Children of Israel believed, and a portion disbelieved: But We gave power to those who believed, against their enemies, and they became the ones that prevailed."
2) Another disctinction between the two religions is the issue of law. Judaism maintains that the laws of the Torah are eternal. There are 613 laws in the Torah, and only a small minority of those are incorporated into the law (Shariah) of Islam. Of the 613 laws, only 271 of them can be followed without having the Temple in Jerusalem and without living in the Land of Israel. Many of the 613 have to do with Temple service and sacrifices and agricultural issues when living in the Land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael). But still of the 271 remaining, many are not in Islam, such as the law of wearing Tefillin (phylacteries: small boxes containing verses from the Torah on your head and on your left arm) during the morning prayer. The law of wearing Tzitzit (a small garment under your clothes that has tassels on the four corners). The law of putting a Mezuzah (a small box with verses from the Torah in it) on the doorpost of your house. The law of wearing a Tallit (prayer shawl with tzitzit on the four corners) during the morning prayers. The law of keeping the Sabbath (not working on the seventh day, Saturday). There are also many more dietary restrictions in Judaism, such as not eating camel, horse, shellfish, and not mixing milk with meat in the same meal. Also there are many (roughly twelve) holidays (holy days) in Judaism that are not in Islam, although many do have an equivalent in Islam. For example, the equivalent of Shavuoth in Judaism, is Layla tul Qadar in Islam, which is the holiday celebrating the receiving of the revelation, the Torah and the Qur'an respectfully. For a good description of the law (Halakhah) in Judaism click
Islam believes that the laws of the Torah were relevant from the time of Moses to Jesus, and then they were abrogated. That from the time of Jesus to Muhammad, we are to follow the laws of the Evangel (or called Injil in Arabic). And then follow the laws of the Qur'an from the time of Muhammad til the Day of Judgement. Islam also believes that the Sabbath and the Dietary Laws were made stricter specifically for the Jews due to their rebelliousness with Moses. As it says in the Qur'an 16.124, "The Sabbath was only made (strict) for those who disagreed (as to its observance); But Allah will judge between them on the Day of Judgment, as to their differences." And in 6.146: "For those who followed the Jewish Law, We forbade every (animal) with undivided hoof, and We forbade them that fat of the ox and the sheep, except what adheres to their backs or their entrails, or is mixed up with a bone: this in recompense for their wilful disobedience: for We are true (in Our ordinances)."
The laws of Islam include prohibitions such as not eating pork, not drinking alcohol, not using interest, and not gambling. And other laws such as praying five times a day, going to congregational prayers at noon on Friday, giving tithes of 2.5% of leftover wealth to the poor, fasting the daylight hours of the month of Ramadhan, and making the pilgramige to Mecca at least once in your life. The major holidays for Islam include fasting the month of Ramadhan (the month the first part of the Qur'an was revealed) focusing on the night of power (Layla tul Qadar, the night the first revelation was revealed) and concluding with Eid Al-Fitr (the first festival). The next major event is the Hajj to Mecca, focusing on the Day of Arafat (where we repent of our sins and fast) and we comemerate Abraham going to sacrifice his son. After that we celebrate Eid Al-Adha (the festival of the sacrifice) and sacrifice a sheep, goat, cow, or camel and feed it to family, freinds, and poor to commemorate that Abraham sacrificed a ram instead of his son!
3) Another distinction is regarding the prophecies regarding the end of days. Judaism maintains that in the end of days, all the Children of Israel (including the 10 lost tribes) will return to the Land of Israel, the Messiah will descend from the sky onto the Mount of Olives and rebuild the third temple on Mt. Moriah, wherein all the nations of the world will flock to the house of God in Jerusalem, recognize the True God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and worship Him. When the true Messiah comes, there will be no more war, famine, hate, pestilance, disease; everybody will recognize the truth and will worship at the Temple Mount. This can be referenced by the Hebrew Prophets Zechariah chapters 8-14 and Isaiah chapter 2. The Jewish definition of Messiah is a Jewish leader (without question, a human being), descended from the line of King David (that is, from the tribe of Judah) who will have the Torah knowledge and the leadership ability to bring all the Jewish people back from exile to the Land of Israel. He will rebuild the Temple, bring world peace, and elevate the entire world to the realization of one God. (For Jewish sources for these points in the order listed above see: Deuteronomy 17:15; Numbers 24:17; Genesis 49:10; 1 Chronicles 17:11; Psalms 89:29-38; Jeremiah 33:17; 2 Samuel 7:12-16; Isaiah 27:12-13; Isaiah 11:12; Micah 4:1; Isaiah 2:4; Isaiah 11:6; Micah 4:3; Isaiah 11:9; Isaiah 40:5; Zephaniah 3:9; Ezekiel 37:24-28.)
The Prophet Isaiah, whose prophecy on this subject is perhaps the best known, describes the Jewish Messianic Vision with these words:
"In the days to come, the Mount of God's House shall stand firm above the mountains and tower above the hills. And all the nations shall stream to it. And the many peoples shall go and say: "Come, let us go up to the Mount of God, to the House of the God of Jacob -- that He may instruct us in His ways, that we may walk in His paths." (Isaiah 2:3)
"And they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation. Neither shall they learn war anymore... " (Isaiah 2:4)
"[At that time] the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard lie down with the kid, the calf and the beast of prey shall feed together with a little child to herd them." (Isaiah 11:6)
The Book of Ezekiel 38-39 talks of a final showdown -- the War of Gog and Magog -- a terrible war when all the nations turn against the Jews. According to one possible scenario, this is when the Messiah is expected to come and bring final redemption.
While Islam says in Sahih Bukhari Volume 3, Book 34, Number 425: Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle said, "By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, son of Mary (Jesus) will shortly descend amongst you people (Muslims) as a just ruler and will break the Cross and kill the pig and abolish the Jizya (a tax taken from the non-Muslims, who are in the protection, of the Muslim government). Then there will be abundance of money and no-body will accept charitable gifts." In Sahih Muslim Book 001, Number 0293: Jabir b. 'Abdullah reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) say: "A section of my people will not cease fighting for the Truth and will prevail till the Day of Resurrection. He said: Jesus son of Mary would then descend and their (Muslims') commander would invite him to come and lead them in prayer, but he would say: No, some amongst you are commanders over some (amongst you). This is the honour from Allah for this Ummah." And in Sunan Abu Dawud Book 37, Number 4310: Narrated AbuHurayrah: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: "There is no prophet between me and him, that is, Jesus (peace be upon him). He will descent (to the earth). When you see him, recognise him: a man of medium height, reddish fair, wearing two light yellow garments, looking as if drops were falling down from his head though it will not be wet. He will fight the people for the cause of Islam. He will break the cross, kill swine, and abolish jizyah. Allah will perish all religions except Islam. He will destroy the Antichrist and will live on the earth for forty years and then he will die. The Muslims will pray over him."
4) Muslims believe that the previous revelations: the Torah, Zabur, and Evangel (Injil) have been distorted and corrupted, and that the only pure revelation left intact is the Qur'an. One example of this belief is the hadith in Bukhari Volume 9, Book 92, Number 461: Narrated Ubaidullah: Ibn 'Abbas said, "Why do you ask the people of the scripture about anything while your Book (Quran) which has been revealed to Allah's Apostle is newer and the latest? You read it pure, undistorted and unchanged, and Allah has told you that the people of the scripture (Jews and Christians) changed their scripture and distorted it, and wrote the scripture with their own hands and said, 'It is from Allah,' to sell it for a little gain. Does not the knowledge which has come to you prevent you from asking them about anything? No, by Allah, we have never seen any man from them asking you regarding what has been revealed to you!"
5) Another difference is the belief in which Prophet is the greatest. Muslims believe that Prophet Muhammad is the greatest, while Jews believe that Prophet Moses is the greatest of the Prophets. This, in fact, is an article of faith in Judaism! One of the reasons for this belief is that according to both Judaism and Islam, Moses is the only Prophet that Allah spoke to directly without going through the Angel Gabriel. As the Qur'an affirms in 4.164: "Of some messengers We have already told thee the story; of others We have not;- and to Moses Allah spoke directly." Qur'an 7.144: "(Allah) said: "O Moses! I have chosen thee above (other) men, by the mission I (have given thee) and the words I (have spoken to thee): take then the (revelation) which I give thee, and be of those who give thanks." And also in 2.253: "Those messengers We endowed with gifts, some above others: To one of them Allah spoke; others He raised to degrees (of honour); to Jesus the son of Mary We gave clear (Signs), and strengthened him with the holy spirit." In the Qur'an 17.055: "And it is your Lord that knoweth best all beings that are in the heavens and on earth: We did bestow on some prophets more (and other) gifts than on others: and We gave to David (the gift of) the Psalms."
6) Another difference is the belief in when Prophethood ended. According to Judaism, Prophecy ended roughly 350 years before Christ. Prophecy could only exist when the land of Israel is inhabited by a majority of world Jewry. During the time of Ezra (~300 BCE) the majority of Jews refused to move from Babylon to Israel, thus prophecy ended upon the death of the last prophets (Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi). In Islam, Muhammad is the last of the Prophets as it says in the Qur'an 33.040: "Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but (he is) the Messenger of Allah, and the Seal of the Prophets: and Allah has full knowledge of all things."
7) Another difference is the belief in Qadar (fate or destiny) In Islam this is articulated by the hadith in Bukhari Volume 4, Book 54, Number 430: Narrated 'Abdullah bin Mus'ud: Allah's Apostle, the true and truly inspired said, "(The matter of the Creation of) a human being is put together in the womb of the mother in forty days, and then he becomes a clot of thick blood for a similar period, and then a piece of flesh for a similar period. Then Allah sends an angel who is ordered to write four things. He is ordered to write down his (i.e. the new creature's) deeds, his livelihood, his (date of) death, and whether he will be blessed or wretched (in religion). Then the soul is breathed into him. So, a man amongst you may do (good deeds till there is only a cubit between him and Paradise and then what has been written for him decides his behavior and he starts doing (evil) deeds characteristic of the people of the (Hell) Fire. And similarly a man amongst you may do (evil) deeds till there is only a cubit between him and the (Hell) Fire, and then what has been written for him decides his behavior, and he starts doing deeds characteristic of the people of Paradise."
8) Another difference between the two nations is the day of the week that they view as the holiest. Muslims believe Friday is the holiest day, because Adam was created on Friday. Also the Day of Judgement will happen on a Friday. As the Quran says in 62:9-10, "O ye who believe! When the call is proclaimed to prayer on Friday (the Day of Assembly), hasten earnestly to the Remembrance of Allah, and leave off business (and traffic): That is best for you if ye but knew! And when the Prayer is finished, then may ye disperse through the land, and seek of the Bounty of Allah: and celebrate the Praises of Allah often (and without stint): that ye may prosper."
And also in 7:54, "Your Guardian-Lord is Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth in six days, and is firmly established on the throne (of authority): He draweth the night as a veil o'er the day, each seeking the other in rapid succession: He created the sun, the moon, and the stars, (all) governed by laws under His command. Is it not His to create and to govern? Blessed be Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds!"
Whereas for Jews, Saturday (the Sabbath) is the holiest day, because after Allah created the heavens and the earth in 6 Yom (days or stages), he decreed a day of rest from creating on the Sabbath. So thusly the Bani Israel were forbidden to do any work on the Sabbath. As the Qur'an says in 4:154, "And for their covenant we raised over them (the towering height) of Mount (Sinai); and (on another occasion) we said: "Enter the gate with humility"; and (once again) we commanded them: "Transgress not in the matter of the sabbath." And we took from them a solemn covenant." And in the Torah it says in Exodus 31:13-18, "Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it [is] a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that [ye] may know that I [am] the LORD that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it [is] holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth [any] work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh [is] the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth [any] work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, [for] a perpetual covenant. It [is] a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he ceased from creating. And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God."
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