In Islam, people of all religions, races and nationalities are entitled to respect and preserved dignity from all Muslims. They are even commanded by the Qur’an to be just and fair in all dealings with non-Muslims regardless of whether or not they are engaged in battle or are being oppressed by them. Additionally, some religions are given a special status by Muslims because of their divine origins and monotheism that resonates so well with Islam.
Due to the fact that Muslims believe that all of the Prophets of God implored their people to worship one true God, they also recognize Judaism and Christianity as valid faiths in the monotheistic tradition as well. In the 42nd chapter of the Qur’an, Allah states, “The same religion has He established for you as that which He enjoined on Abraham, Moses and Jesus. Namely, that you should remain steadfast in religion, and make no divisions therein.” (42:13) Therefore, Muslims believe that the message of Muhammad is fundamentally the same as that taught by Abraham, Moses, Noah, Jesus and others to their followers. According to the Qur’an, there are People of the Book ( a special status given to Jewish and Christian people) because of their belief in the same messengers and prophets as Muslims.
The Qur’an speaks highly of Jesus, Moses and those who follow their teachings while believing in One God. However, there are a few areas where Islamic beliefs differ from those of Christianity and Judaism.
Firstly, Muslims take issue with the misinterpretation of Jesus’ divinity that so many Christians now espouse. Muslims believe that Jesus, while being a messenger and prophet of God, as well as the Messiah, was not divine himself and that any miracles he produced were by the Mercy of Allah and not his own superhuman abilities. Additionally, the Qur’an recognizes the efforts of Mary in her miraculous virgin birth of Jesus but that it does not accord him any special status. In a similar vein as Prophet Adam, Jesus was brought into being solely by the will of Allah and as such demonstrates His Magnificence in creationary efforts. The biblical account of Jesus’ death is also debatable for Muslims as the Qur’an specifically states that he was not killed but was raised up directly to Allah.
With Judaism; the differences are also quite pronounced, particularly in the realm of hypocrisy among the Jewish nations of the time of Muhammad. The Qur’an makes it clear that some of the Jewish people among their community were guilty of altering their texts and so changing divine decree, as well as being racially discriminatory and rejecting Jesus as a prophet. While some argue that the Qur’an verges on anti-semitic, it simple calls on all people, regardless of background to come back to obedience of God’s Laws through self-evaluation and self-improvement.
Other areas that Muslims differ from the monotheisms include:
- Creation: Muslims do not believe in the six days of creation theory and the final day of rest as the Qur’an directly challenges this absurd notion that Allah could become tired in Chapter 50: We created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them in six days, nor did any sense of weariness touch Us. It should also be noted that in Chapter 22, the Qur’an clarifies that each of the six days of creation is like a thousand years of your reckoning.
- The Oneness of God: This is the most basic and fundamental teaching of Islam, that there is only one God, one without partner, associate or incarnation. The Qur’an directly rejects the Trinity and all Christian attempts to explain it in various ways including the Holy Spirit, the Son, the Father and so forth.
- Salvation: Muslims don’t believe that crucifying a prophet can wash away all of the sins of humanity in one fell swoop for the rest of time. In Islam, every action, deed and intention is weighed to its own worth and every individual person is responsible for themselves as they will be held accountable on the Day of Judgment. Faith alone is not enough as we will be judged on our actions too.
- Original Sin: Without this archaic concept, salvation by crucifixion is a null point. Muslims do not believe that all of humanity was born in sin because of a transgression in the Garden of Eden. There is no burden placed on humanity for which we need redemption: only our individual sins transgressed throughout our individual lifetimes.
Non-Muslims living within the borders of Muslim countries are endowed with the freedom to practice their own faith while being free from aggression. During the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad, other religious leaders signed treaties with the Muslims to ensure this freedom to worship. In turn, they must honor civic responsibilities such as those applicable to the general Muslim population as well.