Religious Studies

Similarities and Differences between Christianity and Islam




Islam and Christianity are the most popular religions in the world. The two religions Islam and Christianity together with their originalities are discussed and further screening is done. There is comparison and differentiating them from each other. The analysis has shown that there are more differences than similarities. Some opposing views that have come up have also been discussed, but they should not suggest taking any sides or being judgmental, they are just opinions. With the help of reliable resources, a brief survey has been done to show the distribution of the various believers from the two religions and how popular they are in the world. Finally, a conclusion and several comments have been made on the possible points to note the challenges experienced when carrying out research on this work.



Christianity and Islam are the two largest religions. Both came from Judaism and they believe in one God who created the world and He is concerned about the human behavior and character. For one to become a Muslim, he or she should declare sincerity before a witness who professes Islam. To be a Christian, one is required to confess and repent sins then be baptized. Currently, both religions are monotheistic but before people joined the respective religions, they were polytheistic. They worshipped stars, moon and other gods. Christians believe that God has a son called Jesus Christ and he died for humans’ sins. On the contrary, in Islam God does not have a son but He used a prophet called Muhammad who relayed the revelation made to him through the Koran. Christians use the Bible as a text of reference for religious and spiritual matters, whereas the Muslims use the Koran. Islam and Christianity may have many similarities, but the disparities that arise from the ideologies and practices between the two religions are more profound in today’s world.

Historical background

Christianity is the religion that comes from belief in life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He was born in Bethlehem and at the age of thirty, he started sharing his teachings with others. The Jewish leaders resisted him because they did not consider him the Messiah. He was charged with blasphemy and sentenced to death. After his resurrection, He ascended to heaven. His followers were left spreading Christianity and they were Jews by     birth. They were   first   called   Christians   at  Antioch,  Syria,  where  one  of  the  first Christian  communities  outside  of  Palestine  was  established. The work of Saint Paul and other apostles made Christianity spread rapidly in the Mediterranean world. To this date, Christianity is spread globally.

Muhammad, the founder of Islam was born in Mecca in A.D. 570. At that time, the religion was polytheism, which means worship of many Gods. In AD.610, he started believing that he was receiving visions, which he said were from the angel Gabriel. The Islamic scriptures, known as the Koran, are derived from the revelations he is said to have received for the next 22 years. Muhammad’s preaching of these visions in Mecca quite resisted, reason being Muhammad’s message threatened polytheism, political and economic power. As a result, Muhammad found his first followers among the lower class. Later, Muhammad travelled to Yathrib where he became both a religious and political leader. He took followers in Mecca who did not resist and Islam began to spread. A temple was made in Mecca and it became a place with a holy shrine.


There are several similarities in both Islam and Christianity. Both believe that there is only one true God and He should be worshipped alone. For example, Exodus 20 the Islamists call God Allah the only one. In both religions, they believe that God is the creator of everything and he is both loving and forgiving. He also has a special relationship with people and has made covenants with them. For instance, human beings have authority over other creatures in the world. Both believe that Jesus was sinless, infallible, and born of the Virgin Mary. Both religions accept that Jesus performed miracles then afterwards ascended to God. For instance, the Islamists believe that Jesus (Isa) was a prophet who performed miracles and Christians believe Jesus is the son of God and he too performed miracles. Both religions have similar beliefs with regard to what will happen at the end of the world. Both believe that Jesus will come again to judge all people. Christians and Muslims also believe that all people will go to either heaven or hell. Both religions believe that heaven is eternal. For example, both of them strive to live righteously so that they will go heaven. Both religions believe in ceaseless prayers, fasting and alms giving. In the respective religions, there is a specific day for praying.

That is for Muslims, it is Fridays and for Christians, it is Sundays. Both religions have a common prayer that they use. Christians call it the Lord’s Prayer whereas Muslims call it Surah Fateha. Both religions believe that human beings are the most superior creatures in the world and they have dominion and authority. They therefore should take guard of the earth. No matter how difficult the past and present may be the two religions are hopeful about the future. Evil and suffering do not last. The future will bring about unconditional bliss for all who live with God.
The two religions believe that God and human beings can communicate with each other. By revelation, God communicates to people among which the most vital are revelations through prophets. These revelations are recorded in the Holy Scriptures of each religion. Prayers are also a means of communication.


            As much as there are similarities, there are differences between the two religions. The major difference between these two religions is their founders (Ipgrave, 2004). Muhammad is the founder of Islam. Like all other Muslim prophets, he is believed by Muslims to be sinless. The founder of Christianity is Jesus. Muslims and Christians disagree on who Jesus is. According to Christians, Jesus is the Son of God who came to earth and died for people’s sins. To Muslims, Jesus is a prophet who came to earth and died then resurrected and ascended to heaven. Islam does not accept that Jesus died such a shameful death as Christians usually put it. Muslims believe that a prophet of God cannot go through such.
            On the contrary, Christians believe that Jesus was tried and sentenced to death by crucifixion. He then rose and ascended to heaven. Islam has specified time of prayer and procedures of doing it (Pippa, 2002). For example, prayers should be five times a day and there is a month of prayer set a side for this purpose. On the other hand, Christians do not have any specific time they call upon people to be steadfast and fervent in prayer. Islam allows war and retaliation for self-defense against persecution. It also allows use of war in promoting the faith against unbelievers and idolaters. Christianity forbids war and is strongly against vengeance especially if its persecution. Christianity disallows polygamy, drunkenness and divorce only in case of infidelity. Surprisingly, Islam allows polygamy, divorce but forbids eating pork.
            Christianity teaches that women should be treated with love by their husbands. Men and women are heirs of God’s glory. In Islam, men have more rights than women. A husband can beat his wife and withhold what is due. Women do not attend public prayers in a mosque. Christians believe in the Holy Trinity, which is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit or three persons in one divine nature. Muslims believe that God is only one person; the Trinity is the belief in three Gods. While Muslims see Jesus as a highly regarded prophet, Christians see Him as God Himself. Some Muslims believe that God can pardon those in hell but Christians believe that hell will be eternal and God will not forgive anyone. The two religions use different texts of reference; Christians use the Bible while Muslims use the Quaran. Muslims do not hold to any assurance of salvation, they do not see the necessity for Jesus to pay for our sins. The belief that they hold is that every man must bear and pay for his or her own sins. As for Christians, salvation could have only been brought about by Jesus, through dying on the cross for human’s sins.
Opposing views
            After screening the similarities and differences, there are opposing views that arise. Islam, for example believes in retaliation and wars that are termed, as holy (jihad). This is likely to suggest that Islam encourages violence. The Quaran also has several verses that promote violence. It talks of fighting those who do not believe in God or pagans (9:25, 9:5). However, the Bible teaches that vengeance should be done by God because no human is perfect.(Mahmut, 2002) There has been a low opinion by people especially Christians in the United States of America that all terrorist are Muslims. That is exaggerated because there some known cases of bombings that have been done on USA soil, by domestic terrorists who are Americans. An instance of this is the Oklahoma Bombing. In Christianity, both men and women are heirs of the glory of God. Men have considered women inferior and oppressed them because they are the heads. This should not be so because men should treat women fairly and justly. Islam has even allowed wife battering, which is now considered barbaric.

Christianity initially originated from the Roman Empire. The very first Christians were Jews. Jesus was born a Jew as well. Many African countries in the Sub- Sahara are committed in one of the two religions. This survey was done on over 25,000 people in 60 different languages and in 19 countries. The report was that on several cases, Christians and Muslims in sub-Saharan Africa hold favorable views of each other. 90 % of these people identified to be Muslims and Christians (Peters, 2003). Islam has billions of followers, majority of them in the Middle East. The largest concentration is in Indonesia. Four million are living in America. About 81% of Americans are Christians, this are findings of a certain research done.


            Religion brings a certain idea of hidden power that is over the events of human history. Islam and Christianity are the most popular religions. They carry a big population of the various countries. They also participate in political and economic activities. The founder of Islam, Muhammad became a political leader as much as he was a religious leader. In the Bible, men who feared God were chosen and made great people politically (George, 2002).
            The study on Islam and Christian religion is very educative and informing. There are several lessons learnt like the statistics of followers of each religion. The densely populated areas where each religion is practiced vary. It is noted to be quite ironical about the place of origin of Christianity. Here, it is expected to have Christianity as the religion for the majority as it is for Islam, but on the contrary, little or no Christianity is practiced. The first Christians were from Middle-East countries. Today, majority of the citizens from those countries are Muslims. The two religions have a basic and common belief that is, they believe in one God. In addition, the two religions should therefore be viewed equally because none is superior to the other. The two holy texts instruct people to honor one another. Therefore, there should not be cases of undermination, discrimination and suppression of any gender or tribe.
The members of the two religions should respect and honor each other because everyone has the right to profess any religion that is of choice. Everyone has the right to conscience but it is suggested that everyone should join a religion and give up on traditional beliefs of witchcraft that are harmful and misleading. There is a declining percentage of people who are denouncing religion to join traditional beliefs. The opposing views given in this work do not or should not suggest taking side of any religion because they are just opinions. The limitations experienced in doing this work are short time frame. If more time would be added, more sources of reference would be used to get more information. Another limitation is restricted access to resourceful materials. This is because some materials like books and Pdf‘s cannot be accessed directly online for there are lengthy procedures that the time frame cannot accommodate. It is also quite challenging to put out some points by trying not to show favourism or harsh judgment.


Works Cited

Atkin, Pippa. Flexi-RE.: Lesson Planner, Volume 2. Portland, OR: Nelson Thornes, 2002: 41. Print.

Aydin, Mahmut. Modern Western Christian Theological Understandings of Muslims since the Second Vatican Council. Montgromery, VA:  CRVP, 2002: 221. Print.

Gauss, James F. Islam & Christianity: A Revealing Contrast. San Jose, CA: Bridge Logos Fndtn, 2009: 27. Print.

George, Timothy. Is the Father of Jesus the God of Muhammad? Understanding the Differences between Christianity and Islam. Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan, 2002: 58. Print.

Ipgrave, Michael. Road Ahead: A Christian-Muslim Dialogue. Normal, IL: Church Publishing, Inc., 2004:102 Print.

Peters, Francis E. The Monotheists: Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Conflict and Competition, Volume 2. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003:17 Print.

Copeland, Mark. The Religion of Islam. A comparison of Islam and Christianity. 7 Aug. 2009. 5 May 2010. Web. Jerusalem and Christianity. 6 Mar. 2006. 5 May 2010. Web.

Zaragoza, Dianna. Similarities and Differences Between Christianity and Islam. 23 Apr. 2009. 5 May 2010. Web.

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