Do Islam and Judaism have anything in common? Are they two religions that are radically different and at constant odds? There is a common perception that Muslims and Jews have been at odds for hundreds of years.
These two faiths share more in common than many might initially think. With the rise of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia around the world, it is important to understand what these two faiths have in common.
The Qur’ān refers to Jews and Christians as people of the book. This means that they have a special place and treatment because of their similar beliefs with Muslims.
Islam allows Muslim men to marry Jewish or Christian women. Further, Islam allows Muslims to eat meat that was properly slaughtered by a Jew or Christian.
Islam and Judaism are resolutely monotheistic faiths. Allah is the Arabic name for God. Allah is the same Creator, Sustainer and Provider that Jews and Christians worship. Because these two faiths are strictly monotheistic in nature, the idea that God has a son is inconsistent with the monotheistic message found both in the Qur’ān and Torah.
Muslims and Jews share beliefs in certain Prophets. They both believe that God sent Prophets to humankind to deliver the message of monotheism. Jews believe that Moses is the greatest of all Prophets who was sent to humankind. Muslims also believe in Moses, who is in fact the Prophet most mentioned in the Qur’ān. Muslims and Jews also believe in Abraham, Noah, David, Solomon, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph.
Historically, many of these Prophets resided in the city of Jerusalem. Both Islam and Judaism consider Jerusalem to be a holy city. Prophet Solomon established the first Temple in Jerusalem which made it Judaism’s religious center and holiest city. Jerusalem is Islam’s third holiest city after Mecca and Medina. Prophet Muhammad was taken on a miraculous journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and then ascended to the heavens.
The Jewish Bible instructs Jews to only eat kosher. Muslims only eat halal. There are many similarities between kosher and halal, and in some cases, kosher is considered permissible for Muslims. Some kinds of foods, such as pork, are prohibited in both Islam and Judaism.
Both religions encourage modesty and emphasize that women cover their hair. Many married Orthodox Jewish women wear a scarf to cover their hair. Islam instructs that women wear a headscarf (hijab) after puberty. Along with the head covering, both religions encourage women to dress modestly.
Let us pray that God gives us the ability to love each other, understand each other, and live with each other in peace and harmony. Amen.
Imam Ilyas Anwar is the religious leader for South Valley Islamic Community, serving them and the larger Muslim community in the Bay Area for over 20 years. He is an active member of the Interfaith Clergy Alliance of South County and can be reached at [email protected].
All invited to Thanksgiving service
Everyone in South County is invited to attend the Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service on Sunday, Nov. 19, beginning at 3pm, at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, located at 651 Broadway in Gilroy. Light refreshments will follow the service. If you are able, please bring canned fruit or canned vegetables for the needy.