Similarities between Judaism and Islam

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The religious practices of observant Jews and Muslims are at times identical, this page highlights the similarities in the hope it will inspire others to focus on the many things that unite us

Some core beliefs that Jews and Muslims share

  Judaism Islam
One God
Who they wotarship There is no god but God, Muslim’s know Him by the name “Allah”, the root of this name is found throughout the Torah
The Creator It was Allah, the all merciful, who created and sustains the universe
History
Prophets Judaism has many many of the same prophets as Islam, however it does not recognise later ones like Isa, Yahya and Muhammad Recognises most of the prophets mentioned in the Torah (from Adam to Zechariah), with the addition of some of the Christian prophets and Muhammad
Monotheism for all In Judaism and Islam Adam was the first prophet and he followed a religion Muslims called Islam and that Jews call the Sheva Mitzvot Bnei Noach. Up until Moses this was the religion all of the prophets were obligated to keep.
The chosen nation In the Quran and the Torah the Jewish people are described as being chosen by Allah
The Holy Land In the Quran and the Torah the land of Israel was given to the Jewish people
Lineage Both people descend from Abraham, the Jews from his son Isaac and the Muslims from his son Ishmael

Some of the religious practices Jews and Muslims have in common

  Judaism Islam
Prayer
Direction of prayers Jews face Jerusalem Muslims face Mecca
Prostration Prostrate on certain festivals (although they used to prostrate 3 times a day) Prostrate (rakat) 17 times a day
Praying with a group It is preferable to pray with a congregation
Language of prayer Prayers are said in Hebrew and Aramaic Prayers are said in Arabic
Prayer times
  • In the morning Jews pray brachot “When one can distinguish between blue and white [thread]” until the first quarter of the day
  • Shacharit from sunrise to noon
  • Ashrei / Mincha in the afternoon
  • Maariv at night
  • Shema before sleeping
  • At dawn Muslims should pray fajr “when white thread can be distinguished by you from a black one” until sunrise
  • Shuchar after noon until Asr
  • Asr in the afternoon
  • Maghrib after sunset but before dusk
  • Isha’a at night
Pilgrimage
Where Three times a year Jews were commanded to make a pilgrimage (hag) to the Temple in Jerusalem Muslims go on haj to the Ka’ba in Mecca
Circling They circle the Ka’ba/Temple seven times
Sacrifice As part of the hag pilgrims were obligated to offer certain animals as a korban (sacrifice) During haj pilgrims are obligated to offer certain animals as a qurban (sacrifice)
Charity
Amount A Jew is commanded to give between 10% and 20% of their income to charity A Muslim is commanded to give 2.5% of their wealth to charity
Attitude Charity should be given ungrudgingly
Preference There is a special obligation to give charity to the orphan, the widow and the poor
Modesty
Covering hair Married women are commanded to cover their hair All women are commanded to cover their hair
Dress Men and women are obligated to dress modestly
Being alone together An unmarried man and woman should not be secluded alone
Physical contact Unmarried men and women should not touch each other
Free mixing One should avoid excessive socialising with the opposite gender
Female singing Women shouldn’t sing in public (some rabbis permit this if they’re singing praise to God) Whether a women can sing verses from the Quran in public is the subject of debate
Fasting
What is a fast A sawm / tzom (Arabic / Hebrew) is a period of time when one is not allowed to eat or drink
Why fast? Fasting can atone for personal faults and misdeeds
When are the fixed fasts There are 2 fixed 25 hour fasts and 5 daylight fasts every year Muslims fast during daylight for the entire month of Ramadan
Preferable fast days Mondays and Thursdays are considered auspicious days to fast voluntarily
Purity
Purifying by minor ablution How
  • Wash right hand from wrist to finger-tips three times, then repeat with left hand
  • In some instances the feet are also washed
  • Recite appropriate blessing with proper intent
How
  • Start by making niyyah (intention) to perform wudu
  • Say bismillah
  • Wash the right hand up to the wrist three times, then similarly for the left hand
  • Rinse the mouth and spit out the water three times and rub the teeth
  • Rinse nostrils three times
  • Wash the face three times
  • Wash arm up until elbow three times, right then left
  • Then perform masah (wet hands should be passed all over the head)
  • Wash right then left feet from the toes up to and including the ankles three times
  • Recite the shahadah
  • Offer two-rak’at prayer
When
  • Before worship
  • On awakening
  • After relieving oneself
  • After touching a normally clothed part of your body (private part)
  • Before eating bread
  • Before the priestly blessing
  • After cutting one’s hair or nails
  • After participating in a funeral, upon leaving a cemetery, or coming within four cubits of a corpse
  • After touching inside of nose and ear
  • After touching the scalp
When
  • Before worship
  • On awakening
  • After relieving oneself
  • After touching a private part
  • After vomiting
  • After loss of senses
  • After fainting
  • If one laughs whilst in Salah
  • If blood or pus left the body
Purifying by major ablution How
By immersing the body completely in a pool of water
How
By sequentially washing the entire body
Who needs it
  • A woman that has finished her menstrual cycle (after some additional days have passed)
  • A woman who has given birth
  • One who has had an emission
  • One who has performed an act of intimacy
  • One who has come into contact with a corpse
  • Before a religious festival
  • Before going on Hajj (Islam) / the Temple (Judaism)
  • When converting to the religion
Which water purifies
  • Rain water
  • Well water
  • Spring, sea or river water
  • Water of melting snow or hail
  • Water of a big tank or pond
Calendar
Days
  • Days are from nightfall to nightfall (not midnight to midnight like in the west)
  • Days are named after their numerical value, e.g. Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, etc.
Months
  • There are 29 or 30 days in a month
  • There are 12 months in a year, except for a leap year when there are 13
  • In certain years an extra month is added to ensure the festival of Passover falls in the spring (Judaism has a lunisolar calendar, whereas Islam is solely lunar)
  • There are 29 or 30 days in a month
  • There are 12 months in a year
Years
  • There are 353 – 355 days in a year, unless it is a leap year then there are 383 – 385 days
  • The current year (Aug 2013) is 5773
  • There are 34 – 355 days in a year
  • The current year (Aug 2013) is 1434

The Jewish and Muslim life cycle

  Judaism Islam
Birth
Separation After giving birth the woman becomes niddah for 33 days if she gave birth to a boy and 66 for a girl. After giving birth the woman becomes nifas for a maximum of 10 days.
Non Contact While niddah she cannot touch her husband (there’s also a tradition she shouldn’t touch a Torah scroll), but she can enter a synagogue. During this time she cannot touch the Quran, enter a mosque or be intimate with her husband.
Purification She purifies herself by immersing/covering her body in water at the end of this period.
Abortion Both religions teach that if the mother’s life is at risk the fetus may be aborted.
First days
Circumcision The Torah commands that a baby boy should be circumcised eight days after he is born In Islam baby boys are ideally circumcised when they’re seven days old (although any time before puberty is permitted).
Naming Boys are traditionally named at their circumcision on the eighth day, girls are named when the father next reads from the Torah in synagogue. In Islam its traditional for the child to be named on the seventh day.
Coming of age
When A boy comes of age when he turns 13 and a girl when she turns 12 A child comes of age when they reach puberty
Responsibility They become obligated to follow the laws.
Marriage
Agreed amount A mohar (agreed amount of money) is set aside for bride, which is paid if they divorce A Mahr (agreed amount of money) is paid to the bride from the groom
Marriage ceremony The marriage ceremony consists of
  • The betrothal (erusin), the groom must give something of value to the bride
  • A marriage contract stipulating the Mohar is drawn up
  • The wedding (nissuin), the bride and groom marry under a wedding canopy (chuppah)
  • The bride circles the groom seven times under the canopy
  • The marriage contract is announced publicly
  • Seven blessings are said over wine, which the bride and groom then drink
  • The marriage sermon is then given by the Jew officiating the wedding
  • A glass is then smashed to remind everyone that even during the happiest moments the Jewish people are still in exile
  • A wedding banquet usually follows the marriage
The marriage ceremony consists
  • A marriage contract stipulating the Mahr is drawn up
  • The bride grants her guardian permission to marry her to the groom
  • The marriage contract is announced publicly
  • The marriage sermon is then given by the Muslim officiating the wedding
  • The guardian and groom agree to the terms of the marriage
  • A wedding banquet usually follows the marriage
Marriage contract A ketubah (marriage contract) between the bride and groom is signed by the groom and two witnesses A katb el-kitab (marriage contract) between the groom and guardian (wali) of the bride is signed by the groom the guardian and two witnesses
Obligations After marrying a husband is responsible for providing a home, food, comforts and protection. The wife is responsible for looking after the home.
Adultery Both are forbidden from having adulterous relations
Polygamy The Torah and Talmud permit men to take multiple wives (though this is forbidden to ashkenazim) Men are permitted to take multiple wives
Interfaith marriage Jews are only permitted to marry Jews Muslims are forbidden to marry idolaters, however, Muslim men can marry chaste Jewish and Christian women
Divorce
Who can divorce For Ashkenazim a man can only divorce a wife with her consent, for other Jews he may do so without. To divorce her, he issues a Get (divorce document) which he and two witnesses sign and deliver to the woman. Upon doing so he must pay the agreed Mohar. A man can divorce his wife for any reason he sees fit by pronouncing the talaq.
When can a woman divorce? A woman can seek a divorce from her husband if he is cruel, impotent, etc. if he refuses to issue a Get she can request a rabbinic court to force the husband to issue the Get. A woman can seek a divorce from her husband, but she usually has to repay the Mahr. If he does not grant her a divorce, she may still seek it from an Islamic court. They can only grant her a divorce if she can prove her husband was cruel, impotent or unable to provide for her.
Re-marriage
  • They are permitted to re-marry each other, unless they remarried or had sexual relationships with others.
  • Once the Get has been served they are free to re-marry
  • If the man has said the talaq three times or if the woman has married someone else they are not permitted to re-marry each other.
  • After divorcing: a woman must wait one menstrual cycle before remarrying
Death and burial
Last words If possible one should say the confession prayer followed by “Hear O’Israel, the Lord is my God, the Lord is One” If possible one’s last words should be “there is no god but God, Muhammad is His messenger”
Treating the corpse The body is washed and wrapped in a shroud
When is the burial The corpse is buried as soon as possible (ideally the next day) The corpse should be buried as soon as possible (ideally the same day)
Direction of grave The body is buried facing Jerusalem The body is buried facing Mecca
Cremation Cremation is strictly forbidden
Mourning The immediate family mourn for 7 days by sitting shiva, after which they arise and continue to mourn for another 23 days The immediate family mourn for 3 days
Afterlife Both teach of the immortality of the soul, the righteous are rewarded with the Gardens of Paradise, while the wicked are punished with Gehinom (Jahannam)

Dietary laws, similarities between kosher and halal

  Judaism Islam
Forbidden foods
Slaughter
  • Ideally the slaughterer should be a pious Jew
  • The slaughter (shechitah) involves cutting across the neck of the animal with a non-serrated blade in one clean attempt in order to sever the main blood vessels.
  • The slaughterer says the following prayer before the act “Blessed are You, Hashem, our God, Sovereign of the universe, Who has commanded us regarding shechitah” (unlike Islam, one blessing can cover a period of slaughtering)
  • The spinal cord must be avoided during slaughter.
  • The blood must be drained from the animal
  • After slaughter, the animal must be examined to ensure that it is fit for consumption.
  • Ideally the slaughterer should be a pious man (this can also be a Jew)
  • The slaughter (dhabiha) involves cutting across the neck of the animal with a non-serrated blade in one clean attempt in order to sever the main blood vessels.
  • The slaughterer says the following prayer before each act “By the name of God the most gracious”
  • The spinal cord must be avoided during slaughter.
  • The blood must be drained from the animal
  • After slaughter, the animal must be examined to ensure that it is fit for consumption.
Forbidden meat
  • Swine
  • Any animal that doesn’t chew the cud or have cloven hooves (sheep, cattle, deer, etc. are permitted)
  • Certain birds (e.g. birds of pray)
  • Meat that wasn’t ritually slaughtered (e.g. carrion)
  • Swine
  • Certain birds (e.g. birds of pray)
  • Meat that wasn’t ritually slaughtered (e.g. carrion)
Blood Forbidden (treif / haram)
Amphibians Forbidden (treif / haram)
Insects Forbidden (treif / haram), however both Jews and Muslims are permitted to eat a small number of specific locust and grasshoppers, but today only a small numbers Jews and Muslims in places like Yemen have retained this tradition.
Aquatic creatures The Torah only permits creatures with fins and scales (fish), any other creature drawn from the water is forbidden. The Quran teaches that all creatures from the sea are halal. However, Hanafi Sunnis (who comprise the majority of Muslims) echo the Torah only permit fish.
Forbidden drinks
Alcohol Permitted in moderation Forbidden (haram)

Comments

comments

7 thoughts on “Similarities between Judaism and Islam

  1. It is wonderful to see how many similarities there are between the two religions. I commend you for your highlighting these.

    As a Muslim I cannot address the accuracy of the Jewish section, however I can see several errors relating to Islam. For example after giving birth a Muslim woman must wait 40 days before resuming intimate relations. The midday prayer is called Dhuhr. The number of rak’at vary depending on which particular prayer is being offered, although after two rak’at Tashahhud is recited.

    Islamic divorce is also more complicated than talaq three times. There is a waiting period between each talaq and each time it is said it must be while calm, and not in anger. Before the divorce is complete (3 times) a couple can be reunited without any sin on them. A Muslim woman can remarry her first husband after widowhood, or if she has gone through the 3 step divorce with her second husband. She cannot marry a second husband with the intention to wipe out the three divorces from the first, but must enter it with the intention it is for life.

    Again, thank you for reaching out to both communities; such dialogue can only bring us closer.

    Salaam/Shalom

  2. there are some mistakes in halocho for the jewish side but i like where this is going.
    1) it says Allah swt is found throughout the Torah, however it is not. The hebrew words which are found in the Torah is Alloheem, Alloheinu, Alloah , and Allohei.
    2) it says jews prostrate on certain holidays although they used to 3 times a day. i still do coree3m umeeshta7aweem when i over my prayers. it is unfortunate that jews dont follow proper halocho that doesnt mean the halocho changed. look in RaMbaM seifar ahavo for what he rights there for proper tafillo. also you can perform personal ta7anuneem yourself throughout the day without limits.
    3) it says prayer is said in hebrew and aramaic. that is not true. most people pray the 3amidho in hebrew. that is the 9alaat of the muslims. what we say in aramaic is only praises before and/or after the 3amidho/9alaat. if one wants to pray the 3amidho in his own language which he/she understands better than hebrew, then he/she may do so.
    4) there are 5 prayers jews perform. 3 on weekdays, sometimes more if one wants to offer more. on shabboth and yom tob we perform 4 and extra can be offered if wanted. on yom cippur we offer 5. first prayer is sha7areeeth then mussof then meen7o then naee3lo then maa3reeb.
    5) jews perform 7aj 3 times sometimes more because many yom toveem are said to be 7ajeem uzamaneem.
    6)
    good job, ha9locho rabo in your actions.

  3. 6) it says women cover their hair only when married and that is not true. proper halocho says a girl should start covering her hair with a rodheedh when she is of age to go the market by herself, which is about 3 years old. once she is married, her husband is obligated to buy her a second covering on top of a rodheedh called a meetpa7ath.
    7) tzom is not proper spelling, it is 9om like in arabic.
    8) halocho doesnt say 3 times for washing the hand. one says the barocho then washes his hand as many times he wants and feels it has cleaned his hand. proper halocho says to make the barocho before not after performing the action. has the jamoro says it is a barocho latheeathon. only sing the bathroom, barocho on the moon, and a few other barochoth do you say after the action.
    9) coming of age is not necessarily 12 for girls and 13 for boys. it is when they are mature enough to understand the reasons for mee9woth. kids usually begin performing/learning the mee9woth at age 7 and begin doing things themselves at around 9 or so.
    10) da’oraitho a man can marry a “million” women. darabbonon a man can only marry 4 and because most men cant give each wife a house and food and money to support them and to fulfill their sexual/hormonal needs. therefore al pi rabbonon they made it 4 because that is the most a person can support, even less sometimes.
    11) ashkanazim can marry more than 1 wife. the jazeiro is over. it was only for 1000years. ashkanazim are just stringent bout it and dont.
    12) pretty sure it is same day burial for jews too.

  4. IMO, Elohim is simply Allah (pronounced “Alloh”) with plural of respect . Muslim say it Alloh subhanahu wa ta’ala/ be He glorified in the highest
    Isa Ibnu Maryam translated Jesus son of Marry. One cannot identify Isa and Jesus as a name referring to same person unless they know its context. Isa became Isaus and later on Jesus as we know it today, just like Mattai become Matius and then Mathew or Yakub became Jakob and Jakobus.
    To me that all seems like attempt to write down semist names in latin in a ‘heavily influenced by Greek language’ society

  5. if you include Shia Muslims differences become even more trivial… for example the seafood law is exactly similar to the Jewish one. the same can be said about the obligatory charity’s amount (20%), the post-divorce payment, the 7 and 40 day mourning periods, the purification process (most of the differences are not obligatory including the Niyya which, although required, is simply confined to the simple intention for doing the action -literally its meaning in Arabic), the coming of age (13/14 or puberty whichever comes earlier), purification for laughing during the prayer (not required), and purification by immersion (a preferred alternative to the sequential method).

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  7. Thank you for the correction. I was going to mention that too. It is really interesting to see the similarities between the two religions.

    I want to correct something else from this article about the “The Holy Land”. In fact, the Quran did not say ” the land of Israel was given to the Jewish people”.

    The Quran says: “And We said after Pharaoh to the Children of Israel, “Dwell in the land, and when there comes the promise of the Hereafter, We will bring you forth in [one] gathering.” [17:104}

    The Pharaoh was in Egypt not Palestine.
    Allah (sw) also said in the Quran that the land belongs to Him. Even though they are allowed to “dwell” in it this doesn’t mean that they own it and it doesn’t mean that they have to drive all others out of their homes and kill them to earn it. In fact, I think this ayah is a bigger sign for them that even though God gave them the right to dwell in this land, it did not exempt anyone else from living in it, nor did God say that they can rule it as they please.