Islam was founded by Prophet Muhammad on 622 AD. Muhammad is not the creator of Islam, but a prophet of “Allah”. Allah in Islam means “The God”. Islam is a monotheism religion and in the Koran 3.64 it states that, “We shall not serve anyone but God, and we shall associate none with Him” (Table 2: Islam, 1)
Islam is relatively new religion as compared to other major religions of the world. However, Muslims do not consider Islam as a new religion. It is actually the same teachings brought by other prophets like Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. “The role of Muhammad as the last prophet was to formalize and clarify the faith and purify it by removing ideas which were added in error.” (The Major World Religions, 1) Therefore, Muslims do not worship Muhammad as God like the Christians worship Jesus as Son of God.
Prophet Muhammad was born in 570 AD in Makkah (Mecca), western Arabia, present day Saudi Arabia. “At the age of 40, while engaged in one such meditative retreat, Muhammad received his first revelation from God through the Angel Gabriel. This revelation, which continued for twenty-three years, is known as the Qur’an, the faithful recording of the entire revelation of God.” (Introduction to Islam, 1).The holy book of Islam is Qur’an (Koran). Islam is one of the only three religions which believe that there is only one God. The other two are Judaism and Christianity. The followers of Islam are known as Muslims.
The main festivals of Islam are, Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, Birthday of Prophet Muhammad, and Hajj. (Source: MSN Encarta)
Islam is based on its five pillars. These five pillars govern the daily lives of Muslims.
“Shahadah: Declaration of faith. “
“Salat: Saying prayers five times a day.”
“Sawm: Abstaining during daylight hours in Ramadan. “
Islam has close ties with Christianity. Like Jesus, Muhammad is also a prophet of God. There are lots of information and facts about Jesus in the Qur’an. The Qur’an also describes the birth of Jesus. “No other religion in the world respects and dignifies Jesus as Islam does. The Qur’an confirms his virgin birth (a chapter of the Qur’an is entitled “Mary”), and Mary is considered to have been one of the purest women in all creation.” (Introduction to Islam, 1). This constant mentioning of Jesus in the Qur’an shows its closeness and relation with Christianity. Like mentioned previously, it does show that Muhammad was sent by God to clarify and purify the faith in God. The teachings in the Islam shows that there is only one God and all of the prophets were sent to give the messages of God.
Islam is a rapidly growing religion and many people from all different religions are converting to Islam. Muslims believe that all are born Muslims, and converting to Islam is not conversion, but reversion. Also, upon reversion to Islam, they have to change their name to a Muslim name so as to identify as a Muslim, which will enable them to enter the Mecca during Hajj. (Embracing Islam, 1)
Difference between Islam and Hinduism
Being a Hindu, the first main difference I found between Hinduism and Islam is the number of Gods. Hindus have many Gods and they have many Avatars. So, a single God has many forms and names. For example, Lord Shiva is also known as Mahadeva, Pashupati, etc. Hindus even worship animals like cows, snakes, dogs, crow, and earthly matters like trees, stones, and rivers. But Islam has only one God and we should worship only one God, Allah, and Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah.
We have many temples and holy places in Hinduism. Every God have their temples and holy places. The holy place for Lord Shiva is Pashupatinath Temple, and the holy place for Lord Krishna is Mathura. It is not uncommon to find various holy places for a single Hindu God. There are a lot of holy places in Hinduism. However, as Islam is a monotheism religion, they have do not have multiple holy places. Their holy place is Makkah.
Hindus are forbidden to eat beef as cows are considered as an Avatar of Goddess Laxmi. Muslims are forbidden to eat pork.
During Hindu festivals like Dashain and Tihar, we have lots of feasts and drinking. But during Islamic festivals like Ramadan, they have to fast during the day for an entire month.
Hindus believe in Karma, Dharma, and Moksha. For Hindus, attaining these things will ensure passage to heaven. However, the life of Muslims is governed by the five pillars of Islam, Shahadah, Salat, Sawm, Zakah and Hajj.
After death, Hindus are cremated, where as Muslims are buried.
Muslim women are supposed to cover their hair with a veil till their bosom, but you can find sex sculptures of Hindu Gods and Goddess in the temple. This shows a complete contrast between the view of Hindus and Muslims.
Upon my research, I did not find any similarities between Hinduism and Islam. The two religions are completely contrasting. This could be the reason for war between the Hindus and Muslims in India and Pakistan.
When we are born, we are born under one particular religious family. Because of this, our lives and thoughts are shaped by the teachings of that religion. When you hear and find about other religions, and complete difference in thinking and beliefs, it becomes difficult to understand or accept other religions. But no matter which religion we belong to, we should have faith, hope, and belief, and a belief that there is a powerful force “God” which keeps everything in checks and balances. This very existence or belief in God keeps the human race in control and order.