The ancient world might have been much influential in the modern living and it has greatly determined the current relationship amongst tribes, religions, and even global connection. Judaism and Islam have been among the earliest religions that have existed with their relationship in the current days indicating a subtle connection between them (Catherwood 12).
It has been eminent in recent decades that the world has been witnessing interminable controversies between followers of Judaism and Islam arising from the two religions especially those located in Israel and Palestine where such cases have turned into international concerns (Schwab et al. 4). Confrontations between the two religions do not simply result into strained religious relations, but normally lead to violence and death.
Nonetheless, a closer view of the historical backdrop of the two religions reveals a remarkable connection between them, contrarily to how they behave presently. Therefore, this research seeks to explain why mutual respect is possible, and at the same time why conflict is inevitable.
Common beliefs shared between Islam and Judaism
Despite having interreligious differences in the current days, history depicts that there has existed a great connection between amongst religions, viz. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in the wisdom that in most cases the three religions share numerous common beliefs and practices (Brockopp et al. 10).
Rather, “Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are traditional in a more complex and encompassing way…they do indeed preserve centuries of accumulated judgments about the value of certain beliefs and behaviors” (Corrigan et al. 1). The connection amongst these religions steams from the biblical perspective to historical standards of living in which they became collectively known as “Abrahamic religions” as postulated by Catherwood (21).
This assertion holds because the three religions stream their religious philosophies from the covenantal life made between God and Abraham in the Hebrew Bible including all its teachings. While trying to understand how these religions, especially Judaism and Islam, correlate spiritually and historically, one common term, viz. monotheism or monotheistic religions, is integral to developing a comprehensive understanding.
Monotheism or monotheistic religion
The contemporary conflict between Judaism and Islam may bar anyone from understanding the existing correlation between them, though understanding monotheism or monotheistic religions may be imperative in this case.
Schwab et al. posit, “At the heart of the two faiths is an ethical-monotheistic vision that determinedly resists any compromise on the idea of the transcendence and unity of God” (63). Monotheism typically refers to the religious beliefs or philosophies based on the existence of single or solitary God who they believe is most holy and powerful.
According to the intuitions of the two religions, there is only one God, who is the sole creator of the universe and the world. They believe that God is the only Supreme Being and human history is just akin in all these religions and that Satanism, resurrection of Jesus, life after death, existence of prophets, and even resurrection are religious aspects(Neusner and Sonn 9), because these religions share common beliefs and traditions accustomed to Abraham.
Central practices of prayer and almsgiving
Giving a closer look at the shared practices between the Muslims and Jews, one might conjecture what is really causing conflict between the two religions. Two common practices and tradition shared between Muslims and Jews are prayer and almsgiving that are on common observation and remain respected among the traditions and beliefs of these religions (Catherwood 17).
Ritual praying are common in both religions where adherents pray for forgiveness of sins, thanksgiving to the only Holy God, recitation of common prayers in scriptures, and praying during particular religious functions (Brockopp et al. 31).
Angels and demons all exist spiritually where prayer in both religions involves these spiritual beings. The two religions also acknowledge the essence of considering the disabled and the poor and in this case questions are arising on who between them deems more considerate. They both agree with the practice of giving alms to the poor.
Elements of ritual cleanliness, fasting, eternal life and nutritional regulations
Most common to the practices and traditions of the two religions is the “aspects of ritual purity, the practice of fasting, and the presence of dietary laws” (Corrigan et al. 4).
They have a notion that God is the Supreme Being and human history lies in the hands of God’s supremacy and wheneveradherents disobey His will, there is a need totake appropriate actions to repent through ritual cleansing, prayers, and thanksgiving practices (Schwab et al. 5).
Fasting is the practice where adherents plan special prayer occasions with Muslims believing that meals during the fasting should be taken during the night, while Jew have a different opinion in this tradition.
The aspect of the afterlife in eternity is a common belief with the two religions believing that there is eternity after life in eternal paradise in Muslims and either heaven or no afterlife in Jews (Brockopp et al. 19). Each of the religions observes dietary practices where calendars of religious festivals including marriage and divorce are common.
Relationship confirmed from the religious scriptures
The correlation between Judaism and Islam is not merely a connation bestowed in the modern teachings of priests, Imams, or even false prophets, but the relationship between Jews and Muslim has been evident from human history as it prevails in almost all Holy Scriptures of these religions (Catherwood 29).
Both the Quran and the Bible have been reflective on the aspects relating to common beliefs and traditions including important teachings that connect the two religions from religious to historical perspectives. Another common interconnection between Judaism and Islam or simply between the practices accustomed to Muslims and Jewish adherents is the prevalence of Hebrew teachings that seem contradictive in both faiths (Brockopp et al. 15).
Central to this aspect, it is important to consider Quran views on Abraham’s stories as well as how it interprets biblical stories of Isaac and Ishmael, Abraham’s sons. It is also noteworthy to consider how Islam interprets itself regarding Judaism from its holy scriptures including the Quran.
Quran interpretations of the biblical stories of Abraham
Quran refers to the spiritual scriptures used by Muslim adherents and bestow the belief that it possesses the verbatim word of God, while Judaism adherents use the Bible as a holy scripture. Before commencing, it is important to understand that Islam is more prevalent in Middle East and Southeast Asia, while Judaism seems concentrated in the US, Israel, and parts of Europe (Brockopp et al. 19).
The connection between religious practices associating Judaism and Islam remains evident in a number of scriptures that discuss similar issues including Hebrew’s bible or Hebrews Pentateuch (the Torah) and the Koran.
The Quran interpretations of the biblical stories of Abraham are imperative in understanding this connection. Just as postulated earlier that both Judaism and Islam belong to the monotheistic religion, the two religions have similar perceptions about the story of Abraham’s obedience to God’s holy summon. The Koran interprets that Abraham (in Judaism) who in Muslim bears the name Ibrahim, was neither a Jew nor Christian, but Muslim because he submitted to Allah.
Quran interpretations of the biblical stories of Isaac and Ishmael
Another crucial potion that may give a considerable reflection on the connection between Judaism and Islam that influences the rapport between the Israeli state and Palestinian Arabs is how Quran interprets the biblical stories of Isaac and Ishmael.
Just as noted earlier, “much the same religious narrative and similar religious injunctions are found in the Hebrew Pentateuch (the Torah) and the Koran” (Schwab et al. 63). Isaac is an important actor in the practices and beliefs of the two religions, though they carry quite different opinions in these religions.
The story still lies within the descriptions of Torah concerning God’s promises and series of covenants to the land of Israel. Isaac was the son of Abraham (Catherwood 28). Both religions believe that God ordered Abraham/Ibrahim to sacrifice his son, but instead provided him with a lamb for the purpose of ritual sacrifice. These notions, as embedded in the traditions and religious beliefs of Genesis of Abraham, are agreeable in the two religions.
However, a contradiction in the story of Abraham and his two sons Isaac and Ismail between the Jews and Muslims is that Jews’ traditions in Bible believe that God ordered Abraham to sacrifice Isaac while Muslims’ traditions believe that God ordered Ibrahim to sacrifice Ishmael as his only beloved son (Brockopp et al. 10).
Therefore, in this regard, the Muslim community conviction is that Ismail is the father of the Arab people who are staunch Muslims, while they regard Isaac as the progenitor of the Israelites who are staunch Jews by religion (Catherwood 27).
This perspective brings a confusion and disagreement between the two religions on who between the two sons of Abraham in Jewish and Ibrahim in Islam deserved to undergo the sacrifice torment. From their standpoint and perceptions, Corrigan et al (15) explains that Ibrahim was never the first Jew and thus he was a staunch Muslim in which the modern Muslim community it remains misconstrued between Jewish and Muslim exegesis.
Why conflict is still inevitable between these religions
One might wonder why the continued conflict between Judaism and Islam continues to attract much attention, but considering aspects of religious differences, it may be clear that conflict is still inevitable between these religions (Catherwood 23).
The prevailing controversies might not have resulted really from the political influences between the West and the Muslim world countries, but much of the religious convictions might be greatly fuelling conflicts between these religions (Swab et al. 8). The Holy Scriptures between the two religions, with one using the Koran and the other using the Bible, and the stories that each portray have a momentous impact on the prevailing conflict between these religions.
Both religions have the perceptions that scriptures and their interpretations in the two religions emerge due to formal or informal decisions of these two communities, and bore no evident realities (Corrigan et al. 4). Since the two religions constantly disagree on certain important aspects of religious convictions, this element becomes the source of conflict.
How Judaism interprets itself with a view to Islam
While trying to comprehend why the conflict is still inevitable between these religions, one must consider Judaism’s perception over the Islamic religion streaming from scriptural interpretations and beliefs (Brockopp et al. 15). Coupled with international politics where Judaism and Christianity seem to have power over the Western nations, Corrigan et al. assert, “different segments of larger communities (between Judaism and Islam) might dispute whether this or that writing is truly authoritative for all members” (4).
Judaism interprets the views of the scriptures and beliefs of Muslim and deceitful, unrealistic, and that the Muslim community is just but a religion full of false faith with counterfeit prophets who have emerged to destroy Judaism (Catherwood 33). The Jewish view the Muslim community as a community involving inhumane individuals influenced by wrong Prophetic judgments of the scriptures, with the ability to disregard the significance of quality of life as expected by both religions.
How Islam interprets itself with a view to Judaism
The Jewish perception of God, the prophecy surrounding Jesus, and faith in the divinity of Muhammad and God influences the differences between the two religions. The disparities between the two religions are fuelled by the intuitions bestowed in both religions and the Jewish misinterpretation of Islamic views of spiritual living (Neusner and Sonn 20).
The belief in Islam rests upon one individual true prophet who is Muhammad and that Jesus in the Jewish biblical interpretations is false and misleading the world. The Muslim scriptures were written under the influence of Mohammad and as the Jewish community believes in divine revelation and forgiveness in relation to God’s role in salvation, the Islam community believes in predestination (Brockopp et al. 23).
This Muslim notion, coupled with several contradictions between their beliefs in the stories regarding prominent people in the Bible and Quran, is influencing the disparities between these two distinct religions. Jesus, who is a prophet according to Muslims, is just a false notion to the Jews.
The world in the current days has been witnessing continuous decline in the rapport between the West and the Muslim world with much of such circumstances remaining unknown to the public. Since the events of September 11 in the United States, political leaders have been findings ways to establish common grounds for the West and the Muslim world nations and dialogue strategies are becoming essential.
There seem to be a great connection between the conflicts arising from the Israel/Palestine nations and their religious differences that stream right from the scriptural beliefs and interpretation of historical events that concerned prominent people. The two religions have the notions that any of the texts regarded as scriptures emerged from communities’ formal or informal decisions and that do not have any proof of existence of such occasions, events, or traditions.
This area is normally the source of the underlying conflict between the two religions as they dispute which writing proves authoritative for all adherents. The stories of Abraham and his two sons are common grounds of contradiction between these two religions. Given that the two religions have decided to remain fixed on their traditions and beliefs, the conflict between them is inevitable.
Brockopp, Jonathan, Jacob Neusner, and Tamara Sonn. Judaism and Islam in Practice: A Sourcebook. London: Routledge, 2000. Print.
Catherwood, Christopher. A God Divided: Understanding the Differences Between Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Colorado: David C. Cook Publishing, 2007. Print.
Corrigan, John, Frederic Denney, Carlos Eire, and Martin Jaffee. Jews, Christians, Muslims: A Comparative Introduction to Monotheistic Religions. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2011. Print.
Neusner, Jacob, and Tamara Sonn. Comparing Religions through Law: Judaism and Islam. London: Routledge, 2002. Print.
Schwab, Klaus, Rick Samans, Fiona Paua, Sherif Diwany 2008, Islam and the West: Annual Report on the State of Dialogue. PDF file. Web.
This research paper on Comparing Judaism and Islam