The largest and most dominant religion in the world is none other than Christianity. Islam, Judaism and Christianity are considered to be Abrahamic faiths, tracing their teachings and practices back to none other than Prophet Abraham (pbuh). When you compare these three religions, you will find many similarities.
Muslims, Christians and Jews believe in every Prophet and Messenger from the Book of Genesis, starting with Prophet Adam (pbuh) all the way to the Book of Malachi, finishing with Prophet Malachi (pbuh). However, the line of prophethood does not end with Prophet Malachi (pbuh), as the adherents of Judaism believe. Other prophets came after Prophet Malachi (pbuh). One of those Prophets is the founder of Christianity, Jesus Christ (pbuh).
One of the most remarkable similarities that both Muslims and Christians share, in contrast to the Jewish people, is that Jesus was not a mere human being. Rather, he was a great prophet and messenger of God who was sent with a great mission.
Both Christians and Muslims believe in the prophets that are mentioned in the New Testament. For example, although not mentioned in the New Testament by name, other Christian traditions confirm that Jesus had a grandfather named Joachim (pbuh). Joachim (pbuh) is revered as a saint along with his wife Anne (pbuh). Joachim (pbuh) in Islam is called Imran, and according to Islamic traditions, he is revered as a prophet of God. He is respected in Islam to such a great degree that there is a whole chapter in the Quran named after him: “The Family of Imran.”
Joachim and Anne (pbut), according to Christian traditions, miraculously conceived a child despite their old age, the child was none other than the holy Lady Mary (pbuh). Mary (pbuh). Just like in Christianity, she is regarded with honour and reverence in Islam.
The Quran states:
And ˹remember˺ when the angels said, “O Mary! Surely Allah has selected you, purified you, and chosen you over all women of the world.
– Holy Quran, Ali ‘Imran verse 42
In Islam, the Messiah is an important figure just as he is an important figure in Christianity and Judaism. The Quran states that Jesus (pbuh) is the awaited Messiah:
˹Remember˺ when the angels proclaimed, “O Mary! Allah gives you good news of a Word from Him, his name will be the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary; honoured in this world and the Hereafter, and he will be one of those nearest ˹to Allah˺. And he will speak to people in ˹his˺ infancy and adulthood and will be one of the righteous.” Mary wondered, “My Lord! How can I have a child when no man has ever touched me?” An angel replied, “So will it be. Allah creates what He wills. When He decrees a matter, He simply tells it, ‘Be!’ And it is!
– Holy Quran, Ali ‘Imran verse 45-47
Elizabeth (pbuh), in both Islam and Christianity, is revered as a saint, along with her husband Zechariah (pbuh), a prophet of God.
“Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.”
– Holy Bible: Luke 1:6-7
So the angels called out to him while he stood praying in the sanctuary, “Allah gives you good news of ˹the birth of˺ John who will confirm the Word of Allah and will be a great leader, chaste, and a prophet among the righteous.”
– Holy Quran, Ali ‘Imran verse 39
John the Baptist (pbuh) was the son of Elizabeth and Zechariah (pbut). John the Baptist (pbuh) in Christianity and Islam is a great Prophet who declared to the People that Jesus (pbuh) was the Messiah whom the Jewish people were waiting for.
The first person to point out and recognise Jesus (pbuh) to be the Messiah was a saint, Prophet Simeon (pbuh).
“It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.”
– Holy Bible: Luke 2:26
Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”
– Holy Bible: Luke 2:29-32
Jesus (pbuh) performed many miracles which are recorded in the gospels and accepted by Muslims. He turned water into wine, he walked on water and he raised the dead.
Most of the time people are entirely focused on the differences between Jesus when it comes to Islamic and Christian traditions. But isn’t it evident that, regardless of a few small details, one can find that the similarities greatly outnumber the differences? There is no doubt at all that Jesus (pbuh), according to Islam, is the very same Jesus (pbuh) that the Christians have believed to be the Messiah.
˹Jesus˺ declared, “I am truly a servant of Allah. He has destined me to be given the Scripture and to be a prophet.”
– Holy Quran, Maryam verse 30
One of the differences between Christianity and Islam concerns the divinity of Jesus (pbuh). However, one still cannot ignore the fact that both Islam and Christianity are fundamentally monotheistic religions. Both faiths agree that there is only one Almighty God, without question.
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one’”.
– Holy Bible: Mark 12:28-29
And Jesus makes a clear distinction between himself and the one true God:
“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
– Holy Bible: John 17:3
The Jewish people also deny the absolute divinity of Jesus (pbuh), as the Old Testament declares that:
“God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?”
– Holy Bible: Numbers 23:19
According to both Christianity and Islam, Jesus (pbuh) is a great messenger of God and promised Messiah.
Isn’t it quite obvious that both of these religions have a similar belief in the role of Jesus Christ (pbuh)?
After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.”
– Holy Bible: John 6:14
And they took offense at him.
But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.”
– Holy Bible: Matthew 13:57
The prophethood of Jesus in the Bible and the Quran is self-evident and completely compatible with each other.
Another difference is the matter of the crucifixion. According to Christianity, Jesus (pbuh) was crucified, died and raised from the dead after 3 days. According to Islam, Jesus didn’t die on the cross. Most people might wonder: How does it make sense that Jesus (pbuh) was not crucified? What about the eyewitness testimonies and accounts regarding his arrest and crucifixion within the Gospels? Muslims do not dismiss the events of the crucifixion, but rather they dismiss that Jesus (pbuh) was the one on the cross.
Jesus himself says:
“The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
– Holy Bible: John 10:17-18
Meaning that Jesus didn’t have to get arrested, crucified or killed if he didn’t want to.
The belief that Jesus (pbuh) was not crucified isn’t exclusively an Islamic belief, there have been early Christians that rejected the crucifixion of Jesus (pbuh) as Muslims do.
Some gnostic Christians, before Islam, believed that the crucifixion of Jesus (pbuh) was merely an illusion.
According to the Second Treatise of the Great Seth, Jesus (pbuh) says:
“I did not succumb to them as they had planned. But I was not afflicted at all. Those who were there punished me. And I did not die in reality but in appearance.”
– The Second Treatise of the Great Seth
In the Apocalypse of Peter, Saint Peter (pbuh) questions Jesus (pbuh) concerning the crucifixion:
And I said “What do I see, O Lord? That it is you yourself whom they take, and that you are grasping me? Or who is this one, glad and laughing on the tree? And is it another one whose feet and hands they are striking?” The Savior said to me, “He whom you saw on the tree, glad and laughing, this is the living Jesus. But this one into whose hands and feet they drive the nails is his fleshly part, which is the substitute being put to shame, the one who came into being in his likeness. But look at him and me.”
– The Apocalypse of Peter
This matches what is written in the Quran:
And [for] their saying, “Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah .” And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain.
– Holy Quran An-Nisa verse 157
So, according to Islam, we can clearly see the reason why the gospels recorded that Jesus (pbuh) was crucified. It was not due to a desire to spread fake news or some great conspiracy theory. Rather, the disciples genuinely believed that the one being crucified was Jesus (pbuh). Isn’t it clear that the Islamic account of Jesus Christ (pbuh) is not that far from the Biblical accounts?
Regardless of one’s beliefs, it is clear that the Islamic narrative concerning the crucifixion traces back to gnostic Christian teachings, which predate Islam. Therefore Islam is, in a sense, a form of Christian gnosis.
When we look at certain practices, it is no surprise that certain beliefs in Christianity match those of Judaism and Islam. After all, Jesus (pbuh), according to Judaism, was Jewish. So as the founder of Christianity, his teachings would have to be similar to that of Prophet Abraham (pbuh). And in turn, his followers would have similar beliefs to that of Judaism and Islam. For example, let’s take a look at a common practice they both hold.
Circumcision is the practice of the removal of the foreskin of the male genitalia. It is a practice that started with Prophet Abraham (pbuh).
Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner—those who are not your offspring. Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”
– Holy Bible: Genesis 17:9-14
Prophet Jesus (pbuh) was not exempt from the terms of this covenant. Although the practice of circumcision was a huge controversy amongst early Christians, one cannot deny that Jesus (pbuh) was circumcised.
“On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.”
– Holy Bible: Luke 2:21
Although not all Christians around the world practice circumcision on behalf of religious belief, you find many in Western nations who circumcise based on hygiene and health reasons.
The city of Jerusalem is a holy city within the modern country of Israel. Israel is viewed by many as the homeland of the Jewish people, promised to them by God. A land that was once home to great prophets of the Old Testament like King David and King Solomon (pbut). Jewish people around the world face this city every day in their prayers and, at one point in time, so did the Muslims. Christians also believe in the holiness of this land and perform pilgrimage here. This is because Jerusalem is associated with the life of Jesus Christ (pbuh).
In the religion of Islam, you will find Muslims with prayer beads, glorifying God and praising him. Isn’t this the same as the rosary beads? Rosary beads are used to keep count of the number of times a phrase is recited so that the person who is praying can pray and meditate peacefully without having to keep track mentally, thus drawing attention away from the spiritual aspect itself.
When you think of a Christian praying, the first thing that comes to mind is most likely a person folding their hands together and reciting praises to the Lord and pleading to the divine for grace, blessings, and protection. But did you know that there is more to prayer in Christianity?
The Ethiopian Orthodox Christians have been praying this way, even before the migration of the early Muslims to Abyssinia. They stand, bow, sit and prostrate similarly to Muslims performing their daily prayers.
Isn’t the evidence of Christianity being similar to Islam and Judaism not overwhelming?
“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”
– Holy Bible: John 13:14-17
Purification is an important concept in Christianity, Judaism and Islam. The rituals vary but the idea that a body must be clean to worship is present in all three faiths. A Muslim, before he prays, must perform ablution or “Wudhu”, in which specific body parts are washed and wiped as spiritual purification. This is to enable a Muslim to engage in worship in a pure and clean state. Just as Christians perform feet washing as a form of purification, a Muslim at the end either washes or wipes his feet. And the Jews also wash their hands before performing their prayers. Isn’t the idea of ritual purification quite similar?
Christians perform the ritual of baptism, as a symbol of being reborn in Christ. In Judaism, believers have what is called a “Mikveh”. It is very similar in practice to baptism, in which Jews purify themselves by ritually immersing themselves in the water to achieve purity.
Similarly, Muslims perform what is known as “Ghusl”, a full-body ritual purification. If desired, a Muslim can also submerge his whole body into the water to perform the ritual. This ritual is performed normally when a child is born, when a person is in a state of sexual impurity when a person dies or before the weekly Friday prayer. How much more proof is needed to prove that we are the same?
Another commonality between Christianity, Judaism and Islam is the practice of fasting. Muslims fast by abstaining from food and drink from sunrise to sunset throughout the month of Ramadan. If desired, one may also fast on some specific recommended days for spiritual benefit. Although this practice is typically associated with Islam, some Christians fast from food and drink as well.
In the New Testament, it is stated that Jesus Christ (pbuh) used to fast:
After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
– Holy Bible: Matthew 4:2
Not only did Jesus fast, but he also preached the benefit of fasting to his disciples and explained how they should fast:
“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”
– Holy Bible: Matthew 6:16-18
Today, you find many Christians fasting during the month of Lent. The Great Lent is traditionally described as lasting for 40 days, in commemoration of the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert. The foods abstained from are meat, fish, eggs and dairy products, wine and oil.
In Judaism, fasting is mainly considered atonement for sin. A specific day that most Jews fast is known as “Yom Kippur” or the “Day of Atonement”, in which they traditionally fast for 25 hours.
The Lord said to Moses, “The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present a food offering to the Lord. Do not do any work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the Lord your God.”
– Holy Bible: Leviticus 23:26-28
The beliefs and practices of all three of these religions prove to be similar in many aspects. There is no doubt about that. But let us examine one very unique belief: The return of the Messiah.
All three religions, Judaism, Islam and Christianity, share the belief in a Messiah and his coming in the End Times. Unlike Jews who deny Jesus (pbuh) as the Messiah, both Muslims and Christians believe that Jesus (pbuh) is the Messiah and that he will return in the End Times. Without question, Christians are awaiting the return of Jesus Christ (pbuh).
According to the Book of Revelation, Jesus (pbuh) says the following:
“Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.”
– Holy Bible: Revelation 3:3
“Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.”
– Holy Bible: Revelation 22:7
And according to Islamic traditions, Jesus (pbuh) comes back in the End Times. However, his return coincides with another person: Imam Al-Mahdi (pbuhahf).
Prophet Muhammad (pbuhahf) said: “What would you do if the Son of Mary descends upon you and your Imam is among you?”
– Sahih Bukhari, Abi Abdullah Muhammad ibn Isma’il Al-Bukhar, Book of Prophets, hadith 3449
Huthayfah reported that the Prophet (pbuhahf) said: “The Mahdi turns around and Jesus has descended as if water is dropping from his hair”, the Mahdi will say to him: “Go ahead and pray.” Jesus will say: “The prayer has been set up for you. So Jesus will pray behind a man from my sons.”
– Al-Sirat Al-Mustaqim, Ali bin Younes Al-A’mili, v.2, p.257
And when Jesus brought clear proofs, he said, “I have come to you with wisdom and to make clear to you some of that over which you differ, so fear Allah and obey me.
– Holy Quran: Az-Zukhruf verse 63
Jesus (pbuh) did not leave us alone without indicating someone who would come after him. After all, God does not misguide his sincere servants.
And [mention] when Jesus, the son of Mary, said, “O Children of Israel, indeed I am the messenger of Allah to you confirming what came before me of the Torah and bringing good tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name is Ahmad.” But when he came to them with clear evidences, they said, “This is obvious magic.”
– Holy Quran, As-Saf verse 6
It is very clear that these religions came from the same founder, Abraham; All three faiths share a foundational belief in one God. They share the same prophets and messengers; Muslims and Christians, in particular, believe in saints and prophets such as his Lady Mary, Joachim, Anne, Elizabeth, John the Baptist and Zechariah (pbut). They also believe that Jesus (pbuh) was the Messiah and that he was recognised at birth through Prophet Simeon, who knew of his coming through the Torah. They both also believe that the birth of Jesus (pbuh) was miraculous as his mother was a virgin. They also testify to miracles performed by Jesus, and the Muslims and early Christians believed that Jesus (pbuh) was a messenger of God rather than God Almighty. One shocking similarity is the fact that both Muslims and early Christians believed that Jesus (pbuh) was not crucified and that it was an illusion.
With the Muslims and the Christians, all three practice circumcision; they believe in the holiness of the city of Jerusalem; they perform a ritual purification; they pray the same way, in which bowing, standing, prostration and supplication is involved. Their women wear headscarves, they fast from sunrise to sunset, the Christians and Muslims use prayer beads, and they all believe in a Messiah who appears at the End Times. The Christians and Muslims believe in his return. And he has already returned.
Glad tidings to those who are reading and to those who want to put an end to these divisions that have been placed between us.
Jesus Christ (pbuh) has returned just as the Bible foretold, and he has come with the Saviour of Mankind, the Madhi, the one who Prophet Muhammad (pbuhahf) prophesied about whom would come with a name similar to his. And whom Jesus (pbuh) had sent forth as he had promised in the Quran. The Qa’im has come to put an end to the differences that have plagued humanity. He has come to bring humanity under one call, one truth, one banner under God. It’s time that we receive Jesus Christ (pbuh) again, and it’s time that we receive his messenger again. It’s time to break these illusionary walls that the non-working scholars have set up between our religions. It’s time that we become united.