Difference Between Judaism and Islam

All About Islam

Could you explain the difference between Islam and Judaism as you did about Christianity? The way you outlined the differences was very clear. It appears to me that Islam tries to be more like Judaism.


Islam, like Christianity, accepts the Jewish Bible and is based largely upon Jewish ideas and traditions. The philosophical underpinnings of Islam, however, are more closely aligned with those of Judaism. Whereas Christianity incorporates the idea of the “trinity,” Islam believes in one all-powerful, infinite God.

Mohammed, the founder of Islam, based many of his beliefs on the practices of local Jewish population in his native Mecca. For example, the Moslem practices of not eating pig, circumcision, daily prayer and fasting during the first month of the year were all culled directly from Judaism.

Since Islam was so similar to Judaism, Mohammed assumed the Jews would immediately accept this new religion. When the Jews did not live up to his expectations, he turned violently against them and many Jews died by the sword. (We are still suffering from this today; may there be peace soon.)

The real difference between the two religions, however, lies in their basis for belief. Judaism is based on the unique historical event of a divine revelation experienced by the entire nation. Whereas Islam is based on the prophetic claims of a single individual who subsequently convinced others to follow his ways.

Talmudic tradition says that while Abraham’s son Isaac became the forefather of the Jewish people, the Islamic line is descended from Abraham’s other son Ishmael.

Maimonides states that the popularity of Christianity and Islam are part of God’s plan to spread the ideals of Torah throughout the world. This moves society closer to a perfected state of morality and toward a greater understanding of God. All of this is in preparation for the Messianic age.

ORIGIN: Aish.com

Judaism and Islam | The Difference Between Judaism and Islam

The Origins of Islam

First of all, as elaborated on in the introduction to Judaism and the Koran, and as elaborated on in Chapters 3 and 4, in Jews and Arabs, it’s as clear as can be that the Muslim “prophet” named Mohammed (570–632 C.E.), who in essence started Islam, had enormous exposure to Jews and many of their teachings. However, to understand how the religion spread so easily, we must know that many, many Arab tribes had been living side by side for a very long time, with large Jewish communities such as Yemen, and al-Medina, where Mohammed came from. The influence that Judaism had on the Arabs cannot be understated. In fact the effect of the strong monotheistic views of their Jewish neighbors was so profound that whole tribes of Arabs had accepted monotheism even before the rise of Mohammed. It is because of this closeness to the Jewish community, whom they held in the highest regard, and with whom they got along very well, that many Arab tribes had already adopted and practiced many of the local Jewish laws and teachings. Understandably, this made it so much easier for Mohammed to incorporate a huge amount of Jewish traditions into his Islamic religious teachings, without any protest from his Arab constituents. The teachings of there being One, Merciful God, the importance of prayer, giving charity, the implementation of certain dietary laws, the idea of a day set aside for extra prayer and spiritual development (Friday — instead of the Sabbath), fasting and repentance, were all culled from the local Jewish population and from their knowledge of Torah gained through the local Jewish laymen and scholars. Also, because of the close proximity of the Jews to the Arabs, Mohammed himself was clearly in touch with local Torah scholars (about whom he writes in the Koran in very favorable terms), providing him with access to a very in-depth knowledge of the Torah and its commentaries.

Mohammed had a deep belief in the narratives of the Bible. He wrote of Adam, Noah, and of course of Abraham and Ishmael. He wrote of Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and of Israel’s affliction in Egypt and about all the miracles performed for the Jews in Egypt. He wrote about the Exodus, about the miracles in the wilderness such as the manna, and of how water was obtained through hitting rocks (Sura 2:57,60; 20:80). But most of all, Mohammed was extremely enamored by Moses. If one reads the Koran, one sees that Moses is the predominant figure of the Koran, being mentioned over one hundred and thirty times. Moses, together with Abraham (mentioned over seventy times in the Koran), are spoken about with the highest esteem. Mohammed clearly believed in Moses being the receiver of the Torah directly from God at Mount Sinai.

Basically, we see that Mohammed originally wrote the Koran as “an extension” to the Torah (as Mohammed clearly stated, “Before this Book there was Moses’ Book…and this Book confirms what came before us,” … “when we gave Moses the scriptures” [Sura 2:41,48–51,53,87; 3:30; 17; 46:12,30,33, and in many other places, too numerous to detail]) with the hope that by his giving serious recognition to the Jewish people and their Torah, they would accept him as their “final prophet.”

However, Mohammed made some very serious historical blunders when he relates certain events of the Torah in the Koran. He placed Pharaoh, Haman, and the creation of the Tower of Babel all in one period (Sura 28:38) when the periods in which these people lived were thousands of years apart. He also writes that Mary, the supposed mother of Jesus (Sura 19:28), was the sister of Aaron (and Moses), and that Imram (Amram) was their father (Sura 66:12)! This is a complete historical blunder, for the prophetess Miriam lived thousands of years before Mary. Mohammed thereby exposed himself as the simple originator of a man-made book of laws and a man-made religion that in essence was just copying the Torah. It’s no wonder then that we find in Sura 15:6–7, 17:90, 20:80, 20:133, that his own people ask Mohammed for some small miraculous signs (like to bring forth a spring of water from the ground) to prove that Mohammed was really sent by God, yet Mohammed constantly refuses. In fact he says, “God suffices as a witness between me and you” (Sura 17:96).

His religion spread mostly by force, and that’s how he got the masses to “believe in him.” However, the actual ideas and the general practices were all quite easy to implement because of the Arabs’
tremendous exposure to the surrounding Jewish communities. The only “proof” of the Divine origin of the Koran was how “well written” it was. Of course, such a comment is up for discussion, and it depends on whom you will ask.

It was only after realizing that the Jews (and Christians — in Sura 19, Mohammed starts to try to attract the Christians as well) wouldn’t accept him as a true prophet that Mohammed presented Islam as an entirely new faith, thereby turning against the other religions, the disbelievers, with a vehemence. This is the general idea of how Islam started, a religion that is a far cry from being true in any verifiable way or form. It turned into a militant religion that is bent on fighting holy wars until it is accepted by the entire world. The following verses are just a sample of verses in the Koran that show how all disbelievers must be fought, and even killed, unless they accept Islam with all its beliefs.

These are the teachings found in the Koran:

 2:193 — “And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah; but if they cease, let there be no hostility except to those that
practice oppression.”
 4:89 — “They long that you should disbelieve even as they disbelieve, that you may be upon a level (with them). So choose not friends from them till they forsake their homes in the way of Allah; if they turn back (to enmity) then take them and kill them wherever you find them, and choose no friend nor helper from among them.”
 5:33 — “The just retribution for those who fight God and His messenger, and commit horrendous crimes, is to be killed, or crucified, or to have their hands and feet cut off on alternate sides, or to be banished from the land. This is to humiliate them in this life, then they suffer a far worse retribution in the Hereafter.”
 8:12 — “I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: smite you above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them…”
 8:39 — “And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah altogether and everywhere.”
 8:65 — “O Prophet! Rouse the Believers to the fight. If there are twenty amongst you, patient and persevering, they will vanquish two hundred: if a hundred, they will vanquish a thousand of the Unbelievers.”
 9:5 — “But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever you find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem.”
 9:39 — “Unless you go forth (for Jihad), He will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place; but Him you would not harm in the least.”
 47:4 — “Therefore, when you meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks; At length, when you have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: Until the war lays down its burdens.”

[The information in this section comes from the following two scholarly works that discuss the origins of Islam at length: Judaism and the Koran, by A.I. Katsh, New York: A.S. Barnes & Co., 1962, and Jews and Arabs: Their Contacts Through the Ages, by S.D. Goitein, New York: Schocken Books, 1964. I have also read quite a number of chapters in the Koran (called Suras).]
excerpt from the book: Beyond a Reasonable Doubt by Rabbi Shmuel Waldman


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