Arguably, Christianity and Islam are the largest religions in the world. In as much as these two religions differ in mannerism, there are some attributes that are similar in both. Jesus and Muhammad are considered as the figure heads in these religions. The lives and teachings of these two men have influenced people for over 1,000 years.
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Up to date, these religions are still practiced. In as much as they lived in a different time, their concepts and principles still impact humanity. This paper shall set out to explore the lives of these two religious leaders. To this end, an analysis of their lives shall be presented and their impact to the way we worship today provided.
Renard (2011), states that for the thirty years that Jesus spent here on earth, he left a lasting impression to those that knew him and followed his ways. He was born in Israel at Bethlehem around 6BC. As an infant, he lived in Egypt and in Nazareth as a youth.
His trade was carpentry and according to documented evidence, he was good at it. He started teaching at the age of thirty and did so for three years. During this period, he attracted both positive and negative attention from the thousands of followers and few political and religious figures that existed at that time.
In regard to his teachings, Peters (2010) asserts that Jesus promoted peace love and unity through his actions and teachings. More emphasis was directed towards neighborly love and loving God. He performed many miracles in his life. Despite all these powers, he was peaceful, loving and lived a humble life (had no desire for material wealth).
He followed a simple Jewish lifestyle and advocated sharing. He had many controversies surrounding his teaching. He claimed to be God and this claim eventually led to his death after Pilate considered it blasphemous. He rose from the dead and later arose to heaven promising to go and prepare a place in heaven for his followers.
On the other hand, Muhammad lived in 571-632 AD. Like Jesus, most of his childhood years were spent travelling from one place to another. He was a shepherd as a child and later became a successful trader as an adult. He married several wives and had children. He started teaching at the age of forty.
He preached a message of peace and courage. Renard (2011), states that Muhammad fought many wars. The author further states that during Muhammad’s ministry, many people died at his hand. Mainly, he fought with those that opposed Islam. He later died and never revealed himself to anyone after his death.
The death of Jesus Christ was very symbolic to Christians. According to Peters (2010), the death of Jesus was proof that he had power over death. In addition, it symbolized his forgiving and loving nature. This is deduced from the fact that he died for the sins of everyone despite the fact that he himself was without sin. As such, his death proved to Christians that there is life after death and that God is able to forgive sins no matter the magnitude. Repentance in Christianity is influenced by the death of Christ.
As such, the death of Christ encouraged Christians to hold true to their faith regardless of the hardships that life throws at them. In addition, many true Christians dedicate their lives to serving others and preaching love, all the while avoiding the desires of the flesh. On the other hand, the death of Muhammad led to a split in Islam community. Since he never assigned someone to take over after his death, conflicts arose over who would take up the mantle.
In regard to worship, Christians worship Christ through songs of praise, prayer, fasting and helping others. They celebrate him on Christmas and acknowledge his sacrifice during the Easter festivities. Muhammad is not worshipped, but Muslims follow the teachings of the Quran, which was given to them by Muhammad.
To a large extent, the teachings of Jesus and Muhammad play a pivotal role in the decision making process of their followers. Most Christians today go to church and praise God. They love their neighbors and help those in need in the best way possible. Similarly, Muslims today follow the teachings of their prophet and apply them in their daily routines.
However, due to technology, Globalization and other factors, some people use these teachings in the wrong way. For example, many church leaders have been accused of commercializing religion. Similarly, some Muslims have attributed their terroristic nature to following the teachings of Muhammad (death to all infidels).
In addition, in both religions, distortion of the teachings has become more rampant. Divisions and conflicts have increased as people dispute the true religion and teachings. This is in contrary to the main purpose of the teachings, which was to advocate and promote peace, love and unity.
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Conclusively, religion plays a pivotal role in our lives; it acts as a moral compass and a guide to righteous living. Jesus and Muhammad may not be fairly compared or contrasted. However, it should be noted that it is never the messenger but the message that is important. In this paper, an overview of the lives of these two religion icons has been provided and their impact on how people view these religions analyzed.
Peters, F. (2010). Jesus and Muhammad: Parallel Tracks, Parallel Lives. London: Oxford University Press.
Renard, J. (2011). Islam and Christianity: Theological Themes in Comparative Perspective. California: University of California Press.