Jesus and Muhammad
The word made flesh and the last Prophet sent by Allah. Jesus and Muhammad are two of the most influential figures in history, representing two distinct faiths. They both lived exceptional lives. Their influence has generated a significant following (Pentecost, 1981; Armstrong, 1992). Their impacts were deeply felt their lifetime and their influences have even outlived them. If truth be told, Christianity and Islam are two of the largest religions in the world today (Pentecost, 1981; Armstrong, 1992). The descendants of Christ are called Christians and the followers of Muhammad are called Muslims (Pentecost, 1981; Armstrong, 1992).
Although gaining a good following is an advantage, the significant influence of Jesus and Muhammad were perceived as a threat to the religious and government leaders, respectively. They both endured persecution and mockery in the pursuit of preaching the good news for all to believe (Pentecost, 1981; Armstrong, 1992).
Christianity and Islam are monotheistic religions (Pentecost, 1981; Armstrong, 1992). They all believe in one divine entity. Christians believe in one God in the same way as the Muslims believe in Allah. From West Asia, the religions they founded transcended physical boundaries all over the world (Pentecost, 1981; Armstrong, 1992).
Six hundred years from the time of Jesus to Muhammad, their followers have established distinctly conflicting beliefs and ideologies. Both Jesus and Muhammad are descendants of Abraham (Pentecost, 1981; Armstrong, 1992).
The Life of Jesus Christ
Jesus or Immanuel means God the Savior or God is with us (Let Us Reason Ministries, 2007). Jesus was conceived by the Blessed Virgin Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost, 1981). He was born in 4 B.C. in a manger at Bethlehem (Let Us Reason Ministries, 2007).
Jesus spent his formative years living in Nazareth together with his mother Mary and his adoptive father, Joseph (Let Us Reason Ministries, 2007). Christians regard Jesus, Mary and Joseph as the Holy Family. Christian are trying to emulate the kind of family exemplified by Jesus, Mary, Joseph (Pentecost, 1981).
In the course of his lifetime, Jesus has preached more than 300 scriptures in languages ranging from Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek (Let Us Reason Ministries, 2007). The message of his parables is the love of God. It is after all for the love of God hat all of humanity was rescued from the pains of hell (Pentecost, 1981).
Jesus gained a following by spreading the good news of salvation. The chosen few who preached the Word of God with him throughout the course of his ministry are called the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. Simon Peter, one of the 12 was given the name “Cephas,” by His master, Jesus Christ, because of the latter’s firm faith in God. The other disciples, Matthew and John authored two of the four Gospels found in the New Testament of the Bible (McBirnie, 2008).
Jesus also cured the sick. The term sick not only refers to a physical ailment but also to a spiritual weakness as well (Let Us Reason Ministries, 2007). He even performed miracles during his lifetime. The greatest miracle of his life was his resurrection from the dead. It was fulfillment of the promise of salvation he preached (Pentecost, 1981).
Jesus was never married. He never lived a sinful life. If truth be told, whenever he asks for forgiveness, he asks not for himself, but for others (Let Us Reason Ministry, 2007).
Jesus, as a Prince of Peace has not waged any war in his lifetime. He offered His own life to die on the cross to fulfill his mission on earth (Let Us Reason Ministry, 2007).
The religion he founded was one of love, mercy and truth. The message he delivered to the faithful is that the kingdom of God is not on earth but in heaven (Let Us Reason Ministry, 2007).
The Life of Muhammad
Muhammad which is also spelled as Muhammad or Mohammed means the praised one (Let Us Reason Ministries, 2007). He was born in the year 570 A.D. in Aminah, Mecca to the Quraysh tribe. He was the son of Abd Allah and Halima. His life is accounted in the Qur’an (Let Us Reason Ministries, 2007).
Muhammad was an orphan, unlike Jesus. He never met his father since the latter died long before he was born. His mother on the other hand, died when he was only six years old. It was his uncle, Abu Taleb, who raised him to live the merchant life. It is the only kind of livelihood that suits an orphan like himself (Armstrong, 1992).
He married a wealthy widow named Khadijah. The couple had four daughters and two sons (Armstrong, 1992).
Arabic is the only language Muhammad can speak. He authored the Qur’an, the book which was believed to be his miracle. Unlike Jesus, he did not perform any miracles in his lifetime (Let Us Reason Ministries, 2007).
If Jesus Christ moved to Capernaum, Muhammad was brought to Medina by the rejection he suffered for preaching the good news to the people. Unlike Christ, he has committed sins throughout his lifetime. Whenever he prayed, he also asked for forgiveness for his own sins (Let Us Reason Ministries, 2007).
Sixty-six wars were waged by Muhammad. He even commanded death in the process for the purpose of pursuing monotheism. He founded his own empire on earth and ordered obedience to the teachings of the Qur’an (Let Us Reason Ministries, 2007).
It was through the revelation which occurred at the Hira Mountains when the prophetic life of Muhammad was believed to have started. According to the Muslim belief, it was the angel Gabriel asked him to recite a verse. When he learned about the message, he suffered from distress (Armstrong, 1992).
It took him three years to be eventually convinced. From them on, he devoted himself to a life of prayer and spirituality. He began to convey the message to those who would hear. If Jesus began preaching the word of God in Jerusalem, Muhammad began to preach the good news in Mecca (Armstrong, 1992).
He may have been driven away from Medina, but he eventually found a way back and was able to reestablish himself and his people. He delivered a revelation in the year 620 saying that he had experienced the two spiritual journeys, namely, the Isra and Miraj. He said that he took these journeys with Gabriel, the same angel who appeared to him earlier in his life. The Isra took him to a mosque in Jerusalem called the Al – Aqsa. On the other hand, the Miraj made it possible for him speak with Abraham, Moses and Jesus, the prophets who came before him (Armstrong, 1992).
Muhammad was able to escape an assassination plot for him by the help of a man named Ali. The Muslims properties were seized by the Meccans and an armed conflict followed thereafter. This conflict which lasted for years came to be known as the Hegira. In the end, the Muslims were able to conquer Mecca and gain military power over its people (Armstrong, 1992).
Muhammad was believed to be the Prophet. He taught about the duties one has to Allah. He preached that Allah is a merciful and compassionate god. Muslims dismiss idolatry as a sin. His followers were taught to believe the phenomena that surround the human race as well as the judgment between good and evil. However, Muslims gain no guarantee for being obedient (Let Us Reason Ministries, 2007).
Muhammad died of pneumonia in 632 when he was 62 years old. In his grave at Medina, Muhammad awaits for the Judgment Day. If Christians await the second coming of Christ, the Muslims are not waiting for Muhammad to rise from the dead to rule the world (Let Us Reason Ministries, 2007).
Jesus and Muhammad’s impact on the religions they founded
The suffering, death and resurrection, of Jesus form the basis of Christianity. Known as the paschal mystery, it fulfilled his prophecies. Also, it authenticated His claim to be the Word made flesh sent by God to save all of humanity from the pains of hell. The death of Muhammad made the Muslims believe that the last Prophet has joined Allah in heaven. The Muslims believe that it was Muhammad who has restored the monotheistic religion (Pentecost, 1981; Armstrong, 1992).
The believers of Christianity and Islam continue to preach the good news to the rest of the world. They are engaged in religious war due to the differences in their faiths. Still, differences were never a hindrance to spread their beliefs and cause the conversion of people the world over (Pentecost, 1981; Armstrong, 1992; Let Us Reason Ministries, 2007).
Profession of Faith in Christianity and Islam
In Christianity, Jesus is the God the Son, redeemer of the world. In Islam, Muhammad is not worshipped but adored. If Jesus is God the Son, Muhammad is the Prophet or the Apostle of God (Pentecost, 1981; Armstrong, 1992).
The messages of Christianity and Islam to the faithful
The best – selling book of all time is the Holy Bible. It is Islam who holds the highest population in the world religion today. Two of the most popular religions in the history of man have indeed transcended physical boundaries to be able to reach as far as they can in the pursuit of spreading their respective messages to the faithful (Pentecost, 1981; Armstrong, 1992).
If the Christians profess their faith before God in the Church, the Muslims have the Mosque as their place of veneration. It is in these places of worship where the faithful heed the messages and practice the teachings and beliefs of their respective faiths (Pentecost, 1981; Armstrong, 1992).
Armstrong, K. (1992). Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet. San Francisco: Harper.
Let Us Reason Ministries. (2007). JESUS OR MOHAMMED? Who is the greater Prophet. Retrieved March 10, 2008, from http://www.letusreason.org/Islam8%20.htm.
McBirnie, W. BiblePath.com. (2008). Simon (Peter). Retrieved March 10, 2008 from, http://www.biblepath.com/peter.html.
Partner, P. (1998). God of Battles: Holy Wars of Christianity and Islam. New Jersey:
Princeton University Press.
Pentecost, J.D. (1981). The Words and Works of Jesus Christ: A Study of the Life of Christ.