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    Fundamentals of the Abrahamic Religions

    Written by: Aiza Azam
    Posted on: September 24, 2015 | Post your comment here Comments

     - Fundamentals of the Abrahamic Religions

    ‘Say [O Muslims]: We believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto us and that which was revealed unto Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which Moses and Jesus received, and that which the prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered.’

    [The Holy Quran, Surah Al Baqarah, verse 136]


    Islam, Christianity and Judaism are the three faiths with the largest number of adherents in the world, and are also the most ancient. Referred to collectively as the Abrahamic religions, their foundation was established by the Prophet Abraham when he was enjoined by the Creator to promulgate Monotheism to his people. By virtue of originating from a single source, all three religions have many commonalities in core tenets and practices, with variations in certain areas. Muslims believe that all three religions are in essence the evolution of the same doctrine, with Islam representing the final, perfected version of the Truth.

    Muslims, Christians and Jews all recognize the word of God revealed unto them as guidance; this takes the form of their respective holy scriptures, namely the Quran, the Torah and the Bible. While the Torah and the Quran are taken as a collection of revelations sent directly by God to his prophets, the Bible is believed to have been penned by man and the text is viewed as flawed and contradictory. All three believe that the origin of mankind lies in Adam, and Eve who was created from him; that they resided in Heaven until the Devil tempted them into disobeying God and they were banished from Heaven to Earth, where the race of man would come into being. There exists the belief in a Day of Judgement where mankind will be held accountable for what he has done in this world, and the concept of an Afterlife (with either a reward of Heaven or the punishment of Hell).

    The three religions hold parallels with each other in some of their fundamental beliefs while holding distinct views in others. Muslims and Jews hold to a strictly monotheistic tradition, believing in a God who has always existed and who has neither parents nor offspring; while Christians believe in the Holy Trinity, consisting of the Father (God himself), the Son (God’s son Jesus) and the Holy Spirit (a manifestation of God’s continued spiritual existence and activity in the world). Christians, in contrast to Muslims and Jews, also believe in the Original Sin (the name given to Adam and Eve’s partaking of the forbidden fruit), and essentially the belief that when Adam and Eve were sent down to Earth in consequence for their disobedience of God, they brought evil to this world, and therefore every human being born since is born sinful. Similarly, all three believe in the existence of angels and the Devil, albeit with varying concepts. In Islam, angels are beings created from light who have no free will and who are charged with implementing God’s commands; Satan, not an angel, is a different being created from ‘smokeless fire’, and a creature whom God gave the capacity to choose. In Christianity, angels have distinctive personalities who hold the will to make decisions and choices, while Satan is believed to be a fallen angel, ‘fallen’ because he refused to obey God’s command to bow down to Adam. Judaism coincides with Islam insofar as the description of angels is concerned; however, Satan is also presented as an angel, an agent of God with no free will who is carrying out God’s bidding in this world by testing man’s righteousness.

    The text above is no more than an examination of only some of the pillars that constitute the foundational beliefs of each religion. Deeper study would reveal further similarities and differences, and a more nuanced understanding of each.

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