Judaism and Islam Similarities and Differences

Here are 10 Similarities Between Islam and Judaism that will surprise you. The religious practices and core beliefs of Jews and Muslims are sometimes identical. The similarities are pretty amazing. Here are the facts about the similarities between Islam and Judaism.

The two religions share similar values, guidelines, and principles. Islam also incorporates Jewish history as a part of its own. Muslims regard the Children of Israel as an important religious concept in Islam. Moses, the most important prophet of Judaism, is also considered a prophet and messenger in Islam.

Judaism is the oldest of all the Abrahamic religions. Its founding prophet is Moses, who, according to Jewish beliefs, had been chosen by God to lead the Israelite slaves out of Egypt. Jews believe that camped under Mount Sinai, Moses gave the Israelite slaves the Torah of their God, and after wandering in the desert for 40 years, they went to live in what is now known as Israel, which they believe is God’s gift to them. Jews trace their Abrahamic lineage through his son, Isaac.

Islam was founded by Prophet Muhammad in the year 622. Followers of Islam are called Muslims. Muslims believe that there is only one God and that God chose Muhammad to be His prophet and revealed the Quran to Muhammad. Muslims trace their Abrahamic lineage through his son Ismael.

Comparison chart (Similarities)

IslamJudaism
No. of Gods and Goddesses1 God1 God

Comparison chart (Differences)

IslamJudaism
Place of worshipA mosque/masjid is any place that is considered clean by Islamic standards.Synagogues and temples, home, Western Wall of the Temple in Jerusalem
Place of originArabian Peninsula, Mecca at Mount Hira.The Levant
Use of statues and picturesImages of God or prophets are not permitted. Art takes the form of calligraphy, architecture, etc. Muslims distinguish themselves from other groups by not drawing lifelike human works, which could be mistaken as idolatry. No image is representative of GodAncient times: Not allowed as it is considered Idolatry. Today, great artwork is encouraged. Statues of people are fine, but not as religious icons.
FounderProphet Muhammad. According to Islamic scripture, all people who follow God’s revealed guidance and the messengers sent with it ‘submit’ to that guidance, and are considered Muslims (ie. Adam, Moses, Abraham, Jesus, etc.).Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses
Belief of GodOnly one God (monotheism). God is the one True Creator. God has always existed, none existed before him and will exist forever. He transcends life and death. No part of His creation resembles Him, He cannot be seen, but sees all.One God (monotheism), often called HaShem—Hebrew for ‘The Name’, or Adonai— ‘The Lord’. God is the one True Creator. God has always existed, none existed before him and will exist forever. He transcends life and death.
ClergyThe imam leads congregational prayer in a mosque. Sheikh, Maulana, Mullah, and MuftiAncient times: Hereditary privileged priest class–Kohen and Levi. Present day: Religious functionaries like Rabbis, Cantors, Scribes, and Mohels.
PracticesFive pillars: Testament that there is one God and Muhammad is his messenger (shahadah); prayer five times daily; fasting during Ramadan; charity to the poor (zakat); pilgrimage (Hajj).Prayers 3 times daily, with a fourth prayer, added on Shabbat and holidays. Shacharit prayer in the morning, Mincha in the afternoon, and Arvit at night; Musaf is an extra Shabbat service.
Life after deathAll beings created with reason will be accountable to God Almighty on the Day of Judgement. They will be rewarded for every atom’s weight of good, and either forgiven or punished for evil deeds.World to come, Reincarnation (some groups); unifying with God, there are different opinions and beliefs
Literal MeaningIslam is derived from the Arabic root “Salema”: peace, purity, submission, and obedience. In the religious sense, Islam means submission to the will of God and obedience to His law. A Muslim is one who follows Islam.Grateful person (named for Judah, who was named “gratitude” by his mother, Leah)
ScripturesThe Qur’an, and traditions of the Holy Last Messenger Muhammad, are called ‘Sunnah’ which is found in narrations or ‘hadiths’ by the men around him.Tanakh (Jewish Bible), which includes the Torah
Means of salvationBelief in one God, remembrance of God, repentance, fear of God, and hope in God’s mercy.This is not a concept held in Judaism. Jews do not strive to achieve status at the time of death.
FollowersMuslimsJews, Jewish people
Human NatureHumans are born pure and innocent. Upon reaching adolescence, you are responsible for what you do and must choose right from wrong. Islam also teaches that faith and action go hand-in-hand.You must choose good from the bad. You are responsible for your actions, not your thoughts.
Goal of religionFulfill gift and responsibility of this life through following the guidance of the Holy Quran and Hadith, striving to serve mankind through compassion, justice, trustworthiness, and love for all of God’s creationTo celebrate LIFE! To fulfill the Covenant with God. Do good deeds. Help repair the world. Love God with all your heart. Strong social justice ethic.
View of the BuddhaN/A. Islamic scripture does not discuss or mention Gautam Buddha.N/A.
Geographical distribution and predominanceThere are 1.6 billion. The percentage of the total population in a region considering themselves Muslim, is 24.8% in Asia-Oceania, 91.2% in Middle East-North Africa, 29.6% in Sub-Saharan Africa, around 6.0% in Europe, and 0.6% in the Americas.Existing in Israel for 1500 years, but the Romans in 70 AD kicked all Jews out. Jews are dispersed all over the world, at one time present in almost every country. Now the majority live in Israel, the USA, Canada, Russia, France, and England.
Confessing sinsForgiveness must be sought from God, there is no intermediary with him. If any wrong is done against another person or thing, forgiveness must first be sought from them, then from God, as all of God’s creation have rights that must not be infringedAncient times: there was a sin offering for individuals. Today people individually repair their sins. On Yom Kippur, they confess their sins and ask for forgiveness from God. But also they must ask forgiveness directly from any people they may have wronged.
MarriageIslam is totally opposed to monasticism and celibacy. Marriage is an act of Sunnah in Islam and is strongly recommended. Men can only marry the “people of the book” i.e., Abrahamic religions. Women can only marry a Muslim man.Ancient times: unlimited polygamy with concubinage. In modern times, monogamy official since 1310 AD.
Original Language(s)ArabicHebrew, Aramaic. Over the centuries, Jewish languages have also included Yiddish (among the Ashkenazi Jews of Europe); and Ladino (among the Sephardic Jews of Spain and North Africa).
SymbolsMuhammad’s name in calligraphy is common. There is also the black standard that says “There is no god but God and Muhammad is the last messenger of God” in Arabic. The star and crescent are not Islam per se; it is inspired by the Ottoman empire.Star of David, Menorah.
AboutIslam consists of individuals who believe in Allah, a deity whose teachings its followers—Muslims—believe were recorded, verbatim, by the god’s last prophet, Muhammad.Judaism was created by Abraham in 2000 BCE and his descendants, Isaac and Jacob.
Religious LawShariah law (derived from Quran and Hadith) governs prayers, business transactions, and individual rights, as well as criminal and governmental laws. Religious debate or ‘Shura’ is utilized for practical solutions to contemporary issuesHalakhah. Ethics. Commandments. 613 mitzvahs to be followed. Charity. Prayer. Rabbinical rulings with minority opinions. Debate very important part of the system. Debate is encouraged in schools. Part of the Bible addresses specific laws for everyday life.
Population1.6 billion MuslimsAround 13-16 Million, debated. The population varies due to conversion (although some types are not recognized by the state of Israel) and “marrying out” (of the faith)
The second coming of JesusAffirmedDenied. (not part of the liturgy)
ProphetsGod sent thousands of divinely inspired messengers to guide mankind. These include Adam, Solomon, David, Noah, Abraham, Ismail, Issac, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. There are 124,000 prophets, who were sent to all the world’s nations.Moses, and the subsequent Prophets of Israel as told in the Jewish Bible (Tanakh).
Position of MaryMary (Mariam/Miriam) receives significant admiration from Muslims. She is said by the Prophet Muhammad to be one of the four best women that God created. She is free of sin as the mother of Jesus.Not applicable, as Jews do not believe that Jesus is their Messiah, and therefore, his Jewish mother plays no role in the Jewish religion other than history.
Ressurection of JesusDenied because God raised Jesus to him and he will return before the end of time to finish his life, correct any confusion about his teachings and restore order to the world.Denied.
Holy DaysRamadan (month of fasting), Eid-ul Adha (feast of the sacrifice), and Eid-ul Fitr (sweet festival at the end of Ramadan).Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Simchat Torah, Chanukah, Tu B’Shvat, Passover, Lag B’Omer, Shavuot. Shabbat (Sabbath). Sabbath is the most important—one day a week no work, just peace, joy, and prayer.
Position of AbrahamA great prophet and a perfect, sinless example of the divine guidance of God.The first patriarch and father of the Jewish religion. His father was an idol-maker but Abraham did not believe in idolatry or polytheism.
JesusMuslims believe Jesus to be a perfect, sinless, highly revered Prophet and a messenger of God. His name in Arabic is Isa ibn Mariam (Jesus the son of Mary). Jesus was immaculately conceived through God but is not God or the son of God.Not mentioned in the Jewish texts. No specific beliefs about this individual.
God’s role in salvationYou are judged according to your efforts to do good and avoid sinful behaviors, oppression, etc. God will judge your deeds and intentions. A person must believe in God and follow His commandments.Salvation is not a concept in the Jewish faith. Each New Year, during Yom Kippur, Jews fast and pray for forgiveness from God, and if accepted, are written into the Book of Life, for the next year.
Status of VedasN/AN/A.
Day of WorshipPrayer five times daily is obligatory. Friday is the day of congregational prayer, obligatory for men, but not for women.Friday at sunset through Saturday sunset, is the Sabbath, THE most Holy Day (yes, all 52 of them). Taking time off from work, once a week was invented by Judaism. It is more Holy than any other holiday and is spent in contemplation and prayer.
BeliefBelief in one God, who has sent messengers with revelation and guidance for humanity so they may be guided to good & who has come with both good news and a warning, the last & final messenger being Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلمJewish central belief is that there is only one God, and God has a special relationship, a contract, with them that they can fulfill by performing mitzvot.
Abrahamic LineageThe ancestor of Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم is Abraham (Ibrahim) through his son Ismael.Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are thanked every prayer day. Jacob’s 12 sons became the 12 tribes of Israel. Of these, 10 were lost during Assyrian Exile.
No. of Gods and Goddesses1 God1 God
Virtue on which religion is based uponTawheed (oneness of God); PeaceJustice.
Use of statuesNot allowedForbidden to use in religion
Praying to Saints, Mary, and AngelShiites ask for Saints’ intercession, but, Sunnis do not. Mary is venerated by both Sunnis and Shiites however.Jews only pray to God. They do not need Rabbis to pray. Each Jew can pray directly to God whenever he or she wants to.
Original LanguageArabicHebrew has always been the central language of prayer. From 500 BCE, Aramaic and Greek koine and ‘Aramized’ Hebrew till 300 CE. Local languages and different extinct and living Jewish languages like Carfati, Yiddish, Ladino, and Judesmo.
Original LanguagesArabic.Hebrew was common till 500 BCE, and Aramaic, and Greek koine till 300 CE. Hebrew was always for religious services. Local languages and different extinct and living Jewish languages like Carfati, Yiddish, Ladino, Judesmo, etc
Revered PeopleProphets, Imams (religious leaders).The Patriarchs, Moses, various rabbis, and Tzaddics, down through the centuries.
Primary God(s)Only Allah is seen as being all-powerful. “They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One Allah.” —Surat Al-Ma’idah 5:73The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel).
On ClothingWomen must present themselves modestly to cover their hair and body shape. Men must be modestly dressed and covered from waist to knee. In most Muslim cultures, women wear a form of the hijab; in some, they must wear the full-body cover known as the burqa.Orthodox men always wear hats; Orthodox women either wear hats or wigs. Orthodox dress is modest.
Concept of DeityGod (Allah) is the only god and is all-powerful and omniscient.Belief in one God and teachings of the tradition, prophets, and rabbis.
On Food/DrinkMuslims are only supposed to eat foods that are considered halal. Pork is forbidden. Requirement for prayer and ritual butchery of meat. Quick and swift slaughter at a single point on the throat; blood has to be completely drained.Jews are required to eat kosher food. Pork is forbidden. Requirement for prayer and ritual butchery of meat. Quick and swift slaughter at a single point on the throat; blood has to be completely drained.
Spiritual BeingsAngels, demons, spirits, jinn (genies).Angels, demons, and spirits.
Related ReligionsChristianity, Judaism, Baha’i faithChristianity,
Most Common SectsSunni, Shia.Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Renewal, and Reconstructionist.
Important TenetsThe Five Pillars of Islam among Sunni Muslims and the Seven Pillars of Islam among Shia Muslims. The Shia Twelvers also have the Ancillaries of the Faith.The Law of Moses.
On RaceRaces are generally viewed as equal, but those that accept Islam are viewed more favorably than those that do not. “Among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colors…” —Surat 30:22Jews believe they are the “chosen people” i.e. descendants of the ancient Israelites are chosen to be in a covenant with God. However, all human beings are God’s people, descended from Adam and Eve who were created in the image of God.
View of JesusJesus was a perfect, sinless, highly revered Prophet and a messenger of God. Jesus was immaculately conceived through God but is not God or the son of God. Jesus did not die but ascended to heaven. So there was no resurrection.Regular Jewish person, not a messiah.
Status of MuhammadDeeply loved and revered in Islam. The last Prophet, but is not worshipped. Only God (the creator) is worshipped in Islam; God’s creation (including prophets) is not considered worthy of worship.N/A.
Sacred TextsWhile the Qur’an is the only holy text of Islam, the Hadith, which is said to be the sayings of Muhammad, is also highly revered.Torah
View on Abrahamic religionsBelieve that Jews & Christians should accept Muhammad as the final Prophet; believe that Baha’is are wrong in believing that Bah-u-llah is a prophet.Jews began Abrahamic religions. Christians share early prophets. The Koran also has renditions of these prophets. The New Testament can be viewed as written by Jews for the Jews of that time.
imams identified asShiites believe they are the successors of Ali; Sunnis regard them as their clergy.N/A.
Founders and Early LeadersMuhammad, Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, AliAbraham, Moses, David, and many Prophets.
On WomenVaries. Some Muslims view women as equal, while others believe women should be subservient. Clothing is usually controlled (e.g., hijab, burqa); health choices may be restricted. Surat An-Nisa 4:34 allows for the “light beating” of “disobedient” wives.Equal to men and non-binary people in Reform/Liberal Judaism.
On MoneyZakat (charitable giving). “And know that your possessions and your children are but a trial (fitnah) and that surely with Allah is a mighty reward.” —Surat Al-‘Anfal 8:28Tzedaka
Status of womenThe prophet said, “Do good to and serve your mother, then your mother, then your mother, then your father, then the near relatives, and then those who come after them.” Islam’s honoring of women is the great status of the mother in Islam.Equal to men in eyes of God and in the Law (Halakha). A woman traditionally has been granted more equal rights than most other world cultures. Today, traditions among the Orthodox and Reform movements differ greatly.
PrincipleSay, “He is Allah, [who is] One, Allah, the Eternal Refuge. He neither begets nor is born, Nor is there to Him any equivalent.” – Quran: Surah Al IkhlasBy accepting the covenant, they choose to follow God’s commandments. A unique ethnicity. Early monotheists.
Concept of GodNinety-nine names and attributes of Allah (God) who is infinite supreme, Sublimely one, all are dependent on him yet he depends on none. Self-sufficient. without beginning and without end, and there is nothing comparable to him.One God
Views on Other ReligionsChristians and Jews are regarded as the people of the book, who hold a great deal of respect over materialists but are disbelievers far from the correct path.All people should obey the 7 (Noahide) Commandments, a set of very basic moral laws. Non-Jews should follow their religion, and let Jewish people follow Judaism.
On LGBTVaries, but generally, homosexuality is not accepted. Verses from the Qur’an condemn it and modern fatwas (Islamic law interpretation) often ban homosexuality as a crime, punishable by death in some countries. Sex change is not permitted.Generally accepted and celebrated in Reform/Liberal branches.
View of Oriental religionsBuddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, and Shino are not following the right path. But, “… And We never punish until We have sent a Messenger (to give warning).” [al-Israa’ 17:15].Jews accept others can have different religions. Jews must obey the law of the land, if ethical.
Status of AdamFree from all major sins and faults. Adam is the first prophet and man on earth as sent by Allah and he is the father of Humanity, and Muhammad is the last prophet in Islam.First known use of the Adam/Eve mythology.
AngelsAngels are created from light and remain unseen as they worship and follow God’s commands.Angels serve God as messengers. The world is full of beings existing that we cannot see or understand. Kabbalah includes mystical studies of this.
On Marriage/DivorceAccording to the Qur’an, men may marry more than one woman, but no more than four, as long as they can support them and treat them fairly. Divorce is easy for men, but difficult for women.Orthodoxy only recognizes opposite-sex marriages. Only men can serve women the divorce document, known as a “get.” In Reform Judaism, there’s no need for the get. Civil marriages/divorces are recognized and same-sex couples can marry.
On AtheismVaries, but atheism can be very dangerous in some Muslim nations. “O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the Hypocrites, and be firm against them. Their abode is Hell, an evil refuge indeed.” —Surat At-Tawbah 9:73Some Jews are atheists.
Time of origin600 C.E.c 1300 BC
Holy day(s)Ramadan, Eid, Friday. Laylatul QadrRosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Simchat Torah, Chanukah, Tu B’Shvat, Passover, Lag B’Omer, Shavuot, Shabbat (Sabbath).

Judaism vs. Christianity vs. Islam

In this 30-minute Mysteries of the Church mini-documentary made for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, New York, religious teachers and academics discuss the historical origins, similarities, and differences between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

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