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Judaism vs. Islam

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
How are they different, theologically? Since they are both Abrahamic religions, I can think of a number of ways in which they are similar. In fact, to me they seem more similar to each other than either is similar to Christianity. Both have one God, not incarnate, angels and prophets and many of the same stories even. But I'm having a harder time coming up with differences. Correct me if I'm wrong on any of these...

- The afterlife/judgment is more pronounced in Islam
- There is no concept of Israel/a chosen people in Islam
- There are more mitzva/rules in Judaism than in Islam
- The Qu'ran is considered the actual word of God vs a collection of writings
- Islam wouldn't mind it if everyone to be Muslim while Judaism sometimes almost discourages converts and encourages people to live by the Noahide laws instead

But like, theologically how are they different? What am I not getting?
post #2 of 31
I am neither Jewish nor Muslim, but I was raised as a Baha'i and we were raised to believe that there is a succession of prophets for each age, so Muhammed would be the prophet after Jesus.

Baha'i's are also a Judeo-Christian religion so, they accept all previous propehts, but also believe the Bab and Baha'u'llah were prophets as well.
post #3 of 31
: I really don't know enough about Judaism to contribute, but the subject interests me.
post #4 of 31
I'm in the same boat as Liquesce. I can tell you that I did the Belief-O-Matic quiz and it pegged me as an Orthodox Jew. Makes me think they must be pretty similar. :
post #5 of 31
I have always found them to be very similar. Much more so than either to Christianity.

The biggest difference to my mind is that Islam sees itself as being intended for all people. Judaism does think their God is the creator of all, but believes he especially chose their people to follow the law which he gave them. So they don't generally go out trying to convert people.

Some questions I would ask in trying to tease out the differences:

In each religion,

What role is Islam/Judaism meant to play in the wider world as an institution or as a people?
What is the nature of the law, or the rules, given by God?

What type of action are we supposed to take in response to what God has said? What duties do we owe to him?

What happens when we fail to do what God wants?

What is the afterlife like?

What happens to non-believers? or in the case of Judaism, what part do non-Jews play and what is their relation to God?
post #6 of 31
Thread Starter 
Those are really good questions to ask....

Has anyone been in a position where they tried to pick EITHER Judaism OR Islam to follow as a religion? Was there any specific pull in either direction? Was one an obvious choice - i.e. husband was Muslim - or was it a conscious decision to follow one or the other? Is part of the difference just cultural? You feel you "fit in" better with one group or the other?
post #7 of 31
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post #8 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyyrah View Post
How are they different, theologically? Since they are both Abrahamic religions, I can think of a number of ways in which they are similar. In fact, to me they seem more similar to each other than either is similar to Christianity. Both have one God, not incarnate, angels and prophets and many of the same stories even. But I'm having a harder time coming up with differences. Correct me if I'm wrong on any of these...

- The afterlife/judgment is more pronounced in Islam
- There is no concept of Israel/a chosen people in Islam
- There are more mitzva/rules in Judaism than in Islam
- The Qu'ran is considered the actual word of God vs a collection of writings
- Islam wouldn't mind it if everyone to be Muslim while Judaism sometimes almost discourages converts and encourages people to live by the Noahide laws instead

But like, theologically how are they different? What am I not getting?
They are amazingly similar, and definitley more similar than say Judaism and Christianity or Christianity and Islam. I actually went through a three-four year period where I wondered which one to revert to.

Almost everything you've written is correct, BTW. Although the "chosen people" is mentioned and does refer to the Jews, because God chose to send Prophets to them.

Quote:
“O Children of Israel (the Israelites), remember and mention the favor which I bestowed upon you, and that I favored you amongst all the worlds.” (Quran 2:47, 2:122)
Quote:
“And indeed We gave the Children of Israel (the Israelites) the Scripture, and the understanding of the Scripture and its laws, and the Prophethood; and provided them with good things, and preferred them above all the worlds.” (Quran 45:16)
Quote:
“Indeed God took the covenant from the Children of Israel (Jews), and We appointed twelve leaders among them. And God said: “I am with you if you establish the prayer and offer the Zakat (compulsory charity) and believe in My Messengers; honor and assist them, and lend to God a good loan. Verily, I will remit your sins and admit you to Gardens under which rivers flow (in Paradise). But if any of you after this, disbelieved, he has indeed gone astray from the Straight Path.” (Quran 5:12)

If you look at scripture itself, the Qur'an gives more rights to women. (Of course, practice today may be different in both camps. ) Women had the right to own property, even back in the 7th century. Women had the right to inherit...as did all sons... wheras, traditionally, the elder son would inherit everything. Women had the right to choose/approve of their marriage partners. Women had the right to divorce. Women receive the dowry upon marriage, etc. Women are to be educated as well as men, etc.

Does this help??

I think that on paper, for me, Islam was a better fit. However, in practice, I think much of the Muslim world (whether by choice or force) is living counter to the Qur'an and Spirit of the Prophet's teachings.
post #9 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by umsami View Post
... in practice, I think much of the Muslim world (whether by choice or force) is living counter to the Qur'an and Spirit of the Prophet's teachings.
Yes, agreed, umsami. Unfortunately, it seems no matter what a person's religious path, they are often living counter to their path's teachings! I know I struggle.


I'm no expert on this subject, OP, but I did pick up this book at our library and it seemed interesting and perhaps helpful to you?

An Introduction to Islam for Jews by Reuven Firestone

http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-I.../dp/0827608640
post #10 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyyrah View Post
How are they different, theologically? Since they are both Abrahamic religions, I can think of a number of ways in which they are similar. In fact, to me they seem more similar to each other than either is similar to Christianity. Both have one God, not incarnate, angels and prophets and many of the same stories even. But I'm having a harder time coming up with differences. Correct me if I'm wrong on any of these...

- The afterlife/judgment is more pronounced in Islam
- There is no concept of Israel/a chosen people in Islam
- There are more mitzva/rules in Judaism than in Islam
- The Qu'ran is considered the actual word of God vs a collection of writings
- Islam wouldn't mind it if everyone to be Muslim while Judaism sometimes almost discourages converts and encourages people to live by the Noahide laws instead

But like, theologically how are they different? What am I not getting?
Judaism indeed does have plenty to say about the afterlife. However, since a person can only do mitzvot (Torah commandments) in *this* life, we focus on bringing holiness into this world as our mission.

The Torah is not a collection of writings. Orthodox Jews (and Judaism was always Orthodox until the Reform movement sprouted in the 19th century) consider the Torah to be the Word of G-d. The Oral Law (Mishna/Talmud) is also considered to be directly from G-d -- it's an explanation of how to keep the Torah.
post #11 of 31
When I was young I researched both Judaism and Islam and settled on Islam. The major reason being that I knew that I believe in strict monotheism and all of the Prophets, including Jesus. In Islam, we believe that Jesus is a prophet of God, but not a god or part of God. Like Christians, we believe in the virgin birth and that Jesus is alive in heaven and will return.

Islam also teaches that there were thousands of Prophets sent to all of the peoples on the earth. Most of their teaching have been lost or corrupted but those Prophets were sent specifically to their own people for each peoples' own reasons. The prophet Muhammad was sent as the Last Prophet and his message was intended for ALL people, to unify everyone and the Qur'an is the only revelation from God that has remained unchanged and uncorrupted. So while we are obligated to only actually follow the laws and distinct beliefs about the nature of God brought by the Prophet Muhammad, we are allowed to believe in the possibility that, say, Buddha was in fact a Prophet. (But anyone after the Prophet Muhammad was not a prophet.) AFAIK, there is not a similar belief in Judaism.

Just as Christians see Christianity as a "reformation" of Judaism, Muslims see Islam as a "reformation" of Christianity & Judaism both. Does that make sense?

The other difference I notice anecdotally is that Jews seem (to me) to anthropomorphize God a lot. In Islam this is totally unacceptable, as God as seen as totally distinct in nature from all other beings. Although we can have "godly" qualities, we cannot ascribe human weakness and flaws to God.
post #12 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by UmmZaynab;[I
13033148The other difference I notice anecdotally is that Jews seem (to me) to anthropomorphize God a lot. In Islam this is totally unacceptable, as God as seen as totally distinct in nature from all other beings. Although we can have "godly" qualities, we cannot ascribe human weakness and flaws to God[/I].
Can you explain this, please? With examples? As an Orthodox Jew I can tell you that such a thing is antithetical to Judaism.

We do have different Hebrew words that refer to different 'aspects' of G-d, but they do not anthropomrphize. They simply are a way of accessing some of the infinite facets of the Unknowable.
post #13 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by UmmZaynab View Post
Just as Christians see Christianity as a "reformation" of Judaism, Muslims see Islam as a "reformation" of Christianity & Judaism both. Does that make sense?
I get the general concept, except that Islam seems to accept a great deal from Judaism, but find much of Christianity wrong, and reverse its "reformations."
For example, Judaism practiced circumcision; Christianity declared it no longer necessary; Islam revived the practice.
Judaism had specific dietary laws; Christianity decided those could be set aside; Islam brought them back.
This same pattern is also there when you look at theological differences.
I know Muslims see the three religions as a progression, but it seems more like a progression from Judaism to Islam, with Christianity a kind of detour that throws the whole thing out of whack.
post #14 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nickarolaberry View Post
Can you explain this, please? With examples? As an Orthodox Jew I can tell you that such a thing is antithetical to Judaism.

We do have different Hebrew words that refer to different 'aspects' of G-d, but they do not anthropomrphize. They simply are a way of accessing some of the infinite facets of the Unknowable.
Maybe it's a non-Orthodox thing I hear then? I feel like I hear Jews frequently telling stories that involve God thinking/feeling like a man. I'm sorry I can't think of a specific example now...

What are the Hebrew words that refer to "aspects" of God? This sounds similar to the 99 Names of God in Islam.
post #15 of 31
Thread Starter 
post #16 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamabadger View Post
I get the general concept, except that Islam seems to accept a great deal from Judaism, but find much of Christianity wrong, and reverse its "reformations."
For example, Judaism practiced circumcision; Christianity declared it no longer necessary; Islam revived the practice.
Judaism had specific dietary laws; Christianity decided those could be set aside; Islam brought them back.
This same pattern is also there when you look at theological differences.
I know Muslims see the three religions as a progression, but it seems more like a progression from Judaism to Islam, with Christianity a kind of detour that throws the whole thing out of whack.
Well, I think some Christians would dispute the idea that Christianity deems all of the laws obsolete, correct? Isn't there a verse in the NT somewhere where Jesus says he came not to nix the laws but to confirm them?

Also, Islamic views of these things are distinct from Judaism. The dietary laws in Islam are very simple: No pork, no alcohol, no dead meat, no carnivores. Judaism does not forbid alcohol either. The "halal" method of killing is not necessarily the same as the Kosher method. It doesn't have to be "blessed" by a specific person (such as a rabbi), it just has to be killed in an approved human manner and drained of excess blood.
post #17 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamabadger View Post
I get the general concept, except that Islam seems to accept a great deal from Judaism, but find much of Christianity wrong, and reverse its "reformations."
For example, Judaism practiced circumcision; Christianity declared it no longer necessary; Islam revived the practice.
Judaism had specific dietary laws; Christianity decided those could be set aside; Islam brought them back.
This same pattern is also there when you look at theological differences.
I know Muslims see the three religions as a progression, but it seems more like a progression from Judaism to Islam, with Christianity a kind of detour that throws the whole thing out of whack.
Correct me if I am wrong, but if I remember correctly the changes in Jewish laws that he Christians made were not actually changes made by the prophet Jesus, but actually by his followers in order to gain more converts. I am pretty sure I read that somewhere. I'll haveto look it up to be sure.
post #18 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by UmmZaynab View Post
Also, Islamic views of these things are distinct from Judaism. The dietary laws in Islam are very simple: No pork, no alcohol, no dead meat, no carnivores. Judaism does not forbid alcohol either. The "halal" method of killing is not necessarily the same as the Kosher method. It doesn't have to be "blessed" by a specific person (such as a rabbi), it just has to be killed in an approved human manner and drained of excess blood.

Kashrus has nothing to do with the food being blessed by a rabbi.

Kashrus is about what we may eat (which animals); how those animals are to be slaughtered (specific method, swift to prevent cruelty/suffering); and how we are to eat (no ingestion of blood; no mixing of milk and meat products).

Jews bless Hashem (G-d) before we eat food (which blessing depends on the kind of food); and afterwards.

A shochet (kosher butcher) says a bracha before commiting the act of shechita (slaughter) to thank G-d for allowing us the privilege of eating meat; and to mark the act of a mitzvah.

Special kind of rabbinic supervisors (mashgichim) do supervise the manufacture/processing of all kinds of foods to ensure they remain kosher (do not mix, are not cooked with, etc. unkosher ingredients).

At no time does a rabbi 'bless' the food to make it kosher.
post #19 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamabadger View Post
I know Muslims see the three religions as a progression, but it seems more like a progression from Judaism to Islam, with Christianity a kind of detour that throws the whole thing out of whack.
I would say more that it draws heavily on both, and rejects much of both. In legalistic aspects, yes, much more similar to Judaism, even where the rules themselves differ. The more or less acceptance of the story of Mary and a great deal of the Christian story of Jesus is no small matter, though, in terms of progressing from Judaism to Islam.
post #20 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by UmmZaynab View Post
What are the Hebrew words that refer to "aspects" of God? This sounds similar to the 99 Names of God in Islam.
Of course G-d doesn't think/fell like a human. We, however, as humans, with our feeble and finite minds, speak this way sometimes in order to be able to have a conversation about G-d. This does not mean though, that we attribute those qualities to G-d.

There are many, many Hebrew expressions about G-d. This cannot be anywhere near an exhaustive list, but some include:

Hashem (The Name...used in regular conversation)
HaKadosh Baruch Hu (The Holy One, Blessed be He)
HaMakom (the Place)
Shechinah (Divine presence)
Avinu Malkeinu (Our Father, Our King)
k'l Melech Ne'eman (Our Faithful King)
Melech HaMelachim (King of Kings)
Av HaRachamim (Father of Mercy)
HaDayan HaEmes (The True Judge)
Ribbono shel Olam (Master of the World)
HaBorei (The Creator)
Magen Avraham (Shield of Abraham)
Tzur Yisroel (Rock of Israel)

others we use only in prayer. -- here I am not writing out the true word because it would be extremely disrespectful --.."Ado-shem" (Lord); "Elo-k-im" (Ruler); the 'tetragrammaton' (four letter initials that represent G-d's name, unpronounceable and unknowable) y-k-v-h

There are tons more, just don't have time to go into them all now. Like I said, they all represent facets of G-d and a way for us, as humans, to reach a place where we can come close. But they are not anthropomorphisms.
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