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Jesus and Muhammad

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Essay title: Jesus and Muhammad

Lives of Faith

Arthur J. Congdon

Western International University

HUM 127 Religions of the World

Elise Whitworth

July 2, 2006

Two of the most influential people in all of religious history would have to have been either Jesus or Muhammad. From the moment they were born and extending far beyond their deaths they were both solely responsible for the founding and the continuation of their respective religions. In the year 6 B.C.E (before common era) the son of God Jesus Christ was born near the town of Bethlehem.(Fisher, 2006) Almost 600 years later in the town of Mecca the eventual Prophet Muhammad was born. The influences and religious experiences of these two people shaped the future of both religions. A look at the lives of these two men and the impacts of their deaths follows. A comparison of how both the men influenced their religions and also how they are both revered and worshipped in today’s societies will happen as well. All of these thing will try and explain how the preaching and messages these two men tried to convey to their followers are being followed today.

A look at the historical life of Jesus Christ reveals that he was born to the Virgin Mary and his father Joseph in the year 6 B.C.E. His birth occurred during the Judean reign of King Herod. (Fisher, 2006) There isn’t a lot of written history concerning Jesus’ early years up to the age of about 24 years old. Jesus was a simple carpenter who was known for his fierce devotion to the Lord. He began to preach publicly at the age of 25 or so. (Fisher, 2006) This time during his life was a very successful one, he was adapt at healing the sickly and exercising demons. On a pilgrimage to Nazareth, Jesus was said to have been baptized by John, who later became one of Jesus’ Apostles. This occurrence marked the beginning of Jesus’ public life and rose his preaching to a higher level of interest among both his followers and his detractors. (Maas, 2003) Shortly prior to the first Passover of his life Jesus entered the Temple in Jerusalem and abruptly cast out the buyers and merchants who had been accustomed to buying and selling their wares in the holy Temple for a long time. The death, and the eventual resurrection of Jesus Christ which happened on the day after the Last Supper, was a major point in the Christian religion. Both occurrences had major impacts on the religion, while Jesus’ resurrection is looked at as the most memorable historical event in the religious theatre.(Lang, 1993) Prior to the day of his crucifixion Jesus gathered his 12 disciples and held a feast to tell those apostles of his impending death. Jesus was told of a betrayal by one of his apostles, Judas, that led to his crucifixion at the hands of the Roman Empire. The crucifixion occurred on the 15th day of March in the year 27 C.E. (common era). (Maas, 2005)

Muhammad, the Prophet, was born in the year 570 C.E. (Fisher, 2006) He was born into a meager family and lost both parents by 575 C.E. Muhammad was given into the custody of his paternal grandfather. (Schwarz, 2002) In the year 594 C.E. Muhammad began a career as a caravan manager for his future wife, Khadja. They were blessed with 6 children; 2 boys who died in infancy, and 4 girls. Beginning to feel as though the city of Mecca was becoming materialistic and traditionally idolistic Muhammad began to retreat into himself and spend long periods in reflection in a cave outside of the town. On one such retreat during the year 610 he was visited by a spirit who revealed to him the path he was to take, he was given the following Divine message:

With the name of God, the Most Merciful, the All-Merciful.

Read: with the name of thy Lord Who created,

Created man from what clings,

Read: and thy Lord is the Most Bounteous,

Who taught by the pen,

Taught man what he knew not. (Qur’An 96:1-5)(Hamidullah, M. 1969)

In the year 613, after many such retreats and many revelations, Muhammad made the decision to take the messages he had been given to the public. These recitations were all taken down in written form and were later to become the Holy Qur’An, the sacred scriptures of the Islamic religion. (Kronemer, 2006) Muhammad and his meager followers, at this time, then emigrated to Yathrib an oasis town near Mecca. There he acted as a mediator to resolve a brutal war amongst the town’s peoples. They had invited

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