Hum130-Religions

Jesus and Mohammad Paper

Dave Clanton

Axia College of University of Phoenix

June 08th, 2009

Introduction

In this paper I will compare and contrast the lives of Christianitys Jesus and Islams Mohammed in relation to each ones religion as I now understand them. I will attempt to do this by completing the following steps:

1. Trace the lives of Jesus and Mohammed historically.

2. Compare what impact the death of each person had on his respective religion.

3. Describe the ways each individual was/is worshipped.

4. Explain how their messages are being carried out in the world today.

Birth

The exact date of Jesus birth is not known for sure, but historians believe that it was around the beginning of what is now known as the Common Era. Even the location of his birth is debatable as traditionally, it is thought that he was born in Bethlehem, but some believe his place of birth may actually have been Nazareth, which was known to be his home town in a land called Galilee. (Fisher, 2005) Mohammed on the other hand, was born almost six hundred years later around the year 570 CE, somewhere in the same vicinity. (Fisher, 2005)

Whereas there is little to nothing recorded of the childhood of Jesus, except a story of being left alone by his parents at the age of twelve while they went to Jerusalem for Passover, he went to the Jewish temple and discussed the Torah with the Rabbis, (Fisher, 2005) Mohammed was born into a poor tribe, his father died before he was born, and after his mother and grand-father died, an uncle put him to work in the fields as a shepherd. (Fisher, 2005) Like Jesus, not much else is recorded about Mohammed until he is an adult.

Ministry

So from the above, we gather that Jesus had a sense of his mission from the age of at least twelve, but we do not hear any more until he is around thirty years of age and appears before John the Baptist during a Baptismal ceremony. This is when scholars say that Jesus ministry began. (Fisher, 2005)

Although there are accounts of when he was a teenager, that a Christian monk had noticed markings on his body that indicated he was a prophet, and that he later married his female boss who supported his spiritual retreats, Muhammads adventure begins roughly around the age of forty, when he was approached by an angel during one of his retreats. The angel wanted him to recite, but Mohammed was reluctant. At last the angel convinced him to recite the first words of the Quran. (Fisher, 2005)

Both men and their followers travelled and were ridiculed, persecuted, and tortured throughout their ministries. Jesus performed miracles, and taught of things like gathering riches in heaven, instead of here on earth. He did these things compassionately and quietly. (Fisher, 2005)

Mohammed on the other hand, was involved in leading a raid on a Meccan caravan, was said to have thrown pebbles at the Meccans and turned the tide of a battle. (Fisher, 2005) Mohammed had fought many battles with the Meccans. So whereas Jesus was more of a pacifist, Mohammed was more of an aggressor.

Jesus taught mainly about love, and that God was a forgiving God for those who believed in him and were willing to repent and ask God for forgiveness. Jesus told his stories in ways that the people of the time could understand, or relate, to them. “His stories were often about parents and children, servants and their masters, sowing seeds, or fishing”. (Fisher, 2005)

Mohammed taught strict adherence to the Quran, which accepted the faiths of Judaism, and Christianity because they had the same basic beginnings with Abraham, “but the Jewish people would not accept Islam because it recognized Jesus and claimed to complete the Torah”. (Fisher, 2005) Mohammed had a lot of political power, and “most of the Jewish people were allied with those who were politically opposed to Mohammed”. A lot of “Jewish farms were burned down, and a few of Mohammeds political opponents were killed” (Fisher, 2005)

So from the above we can see that although both men taught of God, they both had extremely different views of the teachings of God, like night and day.

Death

As the time of Jesus demise encroached, he brought his disciples together, and foretold of what was about to transpire. He told them basically, to carry on his message to the people. “Jesus was condemned to death by the people of the Roman empire for challenging the earthly king, Caesar”. (Fisher, 2005) Jesus was only 33 years old when he was killed. His body was placed in a tomb with a large stone in front of the entrance, and “a guard was posted to ensure that Jesus followers would not take the body from the tomb and claim that he had risen from the dead”. (Fisher, 2005)

Christianity could have ended with the death of Jesus, but then “some of Jesus women followers went to the tomb to prepare his body for a proper burial, and found it to be empty”. (Fisher, 2005) They also found the shroud that he was wrapped in was folded and left behind. There is no further mention of the guard that placed in front of the tombs opening to prevent theft of the body.

Then came numerous reports of Jesus appearing to his disciples, they reported that they had touched his wounds, and strange as it sounds, he even ate fish with them. (Fisher, 2005) So, it is that with this final story of Jesus resurrection from death that the religion of Christianity forged on with a stronger, new life.

Mohammeds demise was not so dramatic. It was two years after his triumphant return to Mecca, along with a large army of followers, and his “campaigns” to spread the Islamic faith from a city called Medina that he grew gravely ill and passed away. But before he died, “he knew just how sick he was, and called his followers together for final instructions, promising to meet them later at the fountain in Paradise”. (Fisher, 2005) Since Mohammed “left no instructions as to who should be his successor after he died, the Islamic faith may have taken another downward turn, but as fate would have it, his trusted companion Abu Bakr was elected to carry on in his footsteps”. (Fisher, 2005)

Individual worship

It is Mohammeds life stories that the Muslims hold so dear. He is the ultimate Muslim, and all Muslims want to be just like him. (Fisher, 2005) “The Quran called him a human just like you, a servant to whom revelation has come and a Warner”. (Fisher, 2005) He performed no miracles except receiving the Quran even though he could not read or write. So he is worshipped as a man who is the messenger of Allah, carrying Allahs message to all.

With Jesus, it is his parable stories that get the message he is trying to share, across to his listeners. His manner of teaching how life could be, now and after we die if we just have faith. His performance of miracles like; making the blind to see, healing the sick, and feeding the masses, but most of all his returning from the dead as he promised, made people worship him as a messiah, and not as a mere man.

Messages Today

Jesus message of love and faith in God are evident in many of the worlds Christian based religions today. God gave his only son to die for our sins so that we may be forgiven. Since Adam and Eve, human kind has had the tendency to sin, and the only way we can be cleansed of these sins is to believe in God and ask him for forgiveness. This was the basic message of Jesus two thousand years ago, and it is still basically the same in all Christian based Religions today.

Mohammeds message of “There is no God, but God, and Mohammed is his Messenger is his messenger” is just as solid today as it was almost fifteen hundred years ago. The Islamic religion started out to bring the faithful back to the original teachings of the Torah as the variations on it were becoming so vast. Islam is a religion that will never change, or so it says in the Quran. What I have read about in the text book, Living Religions, Sixth Edition, by Mary Pat Fisher, Copyright ?© 2005, and what I have seen in the news, seem to have some extreme differences. I have read about a religion that is compassionate, and tolerant, but what I have seen on the news is a different religion altogether, with suicide bombers who claim that they are murdering other people in the name of Allah, Muslims who are beheading innocent people because they are not of the Muslim faith. I would think that even though Mohammed was a warrior, he would be quite angry with what is going on in Allahs named this day and age.

In conclusion, although both men had spread the word of God, and taught others in the ways of spiritual enlightenment, both men were ridiculed and persecuted for their efforts. Both had a message of unity of man under Gods rule. Both had things in common, and yet each was so different in his delivery of his message. Jesus was murdered for his beliefs, and Mohammed died a very powerful old man.

Reference

Living Religions, Sixth Edition, by Mary Pat Fisher. Published by Prentice-Hall. Copyright ?© 2005 by Pearson Education, Inc.

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