THE THREE ABRAHAMIC FAITHS similarities & differences

BirthplaceMiddle EastMiddle EastMiddle East
Concept of GodOne GodOne GodOne God
Central FigureMosesJesus ChristMuhammad
ScriptureTorah, Prophets, Writings from the Talmud (oral tradition)Bible – Old Testament and New TestamentQur'an – direct revelation from God. Hadith – Sayings and teachings of Muhammad
WarPeace is always preferable, but war in self-defence is considered obligatory“Just War” can be fought as a last resort; tradition of non-violent resistanceWar should be fought in self-defence only and within strict guidelines
DivisionsModern movements include: Reform, Conservative, Modern Orthodox, ConstructionistMany theological divisions and schisms; Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, numerous Protestant churchesMain division is that of Sunni – Shiite. Majority of Muslims are Sunni
FundamentalismUltra-orthodox Jews reject modern secular world and live in strict communitiesDebate over the literal meaning of the Bible; efforts to bring religion into daily lifeReturn to ‘pure Islam’; efforts to bring religion into daily life
Holy StateJerusalemJerusalem1. Mecca
2. Madina
3. Jerusalem
JesusA historic figure. Not the MessiahThe Son of GodHighly regarded as the second last Prophet. Muhammad regarded as the last Prophet
HierarchyNo hierarchy. Rabbi’s are considered teachersCatholics and Orthodox have extensive hierarchy. Some Protestant branches have almost noneNo hierarchy. Prayers are lead by Imams, teachers, who have studied the Qur’an
Idols & ImagesImages and statues are strictly forbiddenImages and statues are allowed in some divisions but not worshippedImages and statues are strictly forbidden
CharityTzedakah: 10% of incomeTithe: 10% of incomeZakat: 2.5% of income
ConversionNo active preaching to non-Jews. Jews must turn away a convert three times to ensure their commitmentConversion considered important in most traditions. Missionaries are prominent among Catholics and ProtestantsDa’wa (Invitation): Muslims should share their knowledge of Islam without trying to convert. Only God can bring someone to Islam
Tolerance to other faithsJews tolerate other religions and do not seek to convertChristians taught to “Love thy neighbour” and proclaim that Christianity is the only way to GodMuslims taught to tolerate other faiths. Special respect for Jews and Christians as ‘People of the Book’
Status of WomenMen and women are equal in the eyes of God. Traditional Judaism prescribes different roles for men and women. Orthodox men and women worship separatelyMen and women worship together. Some Protestant churches ordain women as PriestsMen and women are regarded as equal, as taught in the Qur’an. Men and women traditionally pray separately
House of WorshipSynagogueChurchMasjid (Mosque)
Main Day of WorshipSaturday (Shabbat)SundayFriday (Jum’a)
Dietary RequirementsMust keep kosher. No pork or certain seafood, other meat to be killed by kosher method, separation of meat and dairyNoneMust be halal. No pork, other meat should be prepared by halal method. Alcohol prohibited
Life after DeathNo immediate life after death. Life in the ‘world to come’ after the coming of the MessiahDay of Judgement followed by Heaven and HellDay of Judgement followed by Heaven and Hell

by Hiba Kanj and Feda Abdo
Adapted from: