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Jesus and Muhammad

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Jesus & Muhammad

The religions of Christianity and Islam are radically different but share the same type of concepts. Both religions worshiped figures that were thought of as messengers of God and they both preached to believe and obey the one true God. Obeying the one true God is where things dramatically change and we start to see the differences in both religion. Jesus and Muhammad were two historical figures that transcended their respected religions and delivered the message of God.

Births

Jesus was born as a Jew about two thousand years ago in Roman-occupied Palestine. (Fisher,2005, p.286). He was conceived by Mary and Joseph but his birth wasn’t typical by any means. Mary, a virgin, was told that by God’s power the Holy Spirit, she was going to conceive and bear a son. Joseph took Mary to Bethlehem to register for a census and while there Mary gave birth to Jesus, a name that means “God saves”. Upon hearing that a Savior had been born, people brought Jesus gifts to confirm his kingship. This well-loved birth legend exemplifies the humility that Jesus taught. (Fisher, 2005, p.288).

Muhammad, which means “praised one”, was born about 570 CE in Mecca to his mother Amina, who was part of the Quraish, the then ruling tribe of Mecca. His father Abdallah died a few weeks before his birth while his mother died while he was six so he was primarily raised by his grandfather Abdul Muttalib. After the death of his grandfather, his uncle, Abu Talib assumed responsibility for raising him and put him to work as a Sheppard.

Humble Beginnings

No other stories are told about Jesus’s childhood in Nazareth until he was twelve years old. (Fisher, 2005, p.288) On a trip to Jerusalem, he was found by his parents in a temple discussing the Torah with rabbis and impressing them with his understanding and knowledge. The rest of Jesus’s childhood is a bit of a mystery but he had many friends, including John the Baptist and the 12 disciples. The disciples were men Jesus selected as companions. They traveled with Jesus as he preached. After Jesus died, they taught others about him. The apostles names were: Peter, Andrew, James the son of Zebedee, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alpheus, Thaddeus, Simon, and Judas Iscariot. (Fisher, 2005, p.291). John lived in the wilderness near the Jordan River where people came to hear him preach about repentance and the coming of Christ. John baptized people in the river for the forgiveness of sins. Although Jesus never sinned, he was baptized by John. (Fisher, 2005, p.290).

The stories of Muhammad’s life and his sayings are preserved in a vast, not fully authenticated literature called the Hadith. (Fisher, 2005, p.365) It is said that as a teenager, Muhammad was on a trip with his uncle to Syria and was noticed by a monk who identified him as a prophet. At 25 years old, he was hired to manage the business of a wealthy widow named Khadijah, who was 15 years his elder. They soon married and Khadijah became Muhammad’s strongest supporter during the difficult and discouraging years of his early mission. (Fisher, 2005, p.365)

Legend of Greatness

As he traveled around Israel, Jesus taught with sermons and parables. He preached that God is forgiving to those who repent. (Fisher,2005,p.295) Jesus delivered his most famous sermon on a mountain. In it, Jesus taught his listeners to: Love your enemies, do not judge others, trust God, don't be anxious about tomorrow, and do unto others as you would have them do unto you (The "golden rule"). (Fisher, 2005, p.293). Jesus also performed miracles to show others that he was God's son, such as healing the sick, walking on water, restoring the dead, and turning water to wine. The stories of the miracles performed by Jesus have symbolic meanings taken from the entire Jewish and Christian traditions. (Fisher, 2005, p.291) Through the miracles and teachings, Jesus gained many followers that believed he was indeed the son of God.

At the age of 40, Muhammad was on a spiritual retreat during Ramadan when an angel named Gabriel appeared to him and commanded him to recite (96:1-19). This recitation became the first words of the Qur'an. Muhammad could neither read nor write so he was instructed to memorize the words given to him by Gabriel. This complete recitation which Muhammad received over a 23 year period, ending in 632, the year of his death, is known as the Qur'an. Initially, Muhammad doubted that he was being called by Allah to be a prophet. Others, including his wife and a cousin, counseled him by saying that Allah would only be truthful to him and would not allow him to be deceived. (Fisher,2005,p.365). He was heavily persecuted at first,

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