and Mohammed have shaped the course of history and the destiny of man
for over two millennia. Christianity and Islam are currently the largest
religions with a following of 1.8 billion and 1 billion respectively.
No other religion in the world comes close to achieving such numbers.
These are the only two religions that have a global presence; in other
words you will find Muslims and Christians present in every territory in
the world. Both Jesus and Mohammed shared a lot of similarities and
differences which is reflected in their respective religions. This hub
compares and contrasts the lives of Jesus and Mohammed and examines the
impact their deaths had on their followers. It also examines the history
and manner of worship of both religions.
Similarities of Jesus & Mohammed
we encounter reports of miraculous events before and upon the Birth of
both leaders. The Christian Bible talks of a host of Angels appearing to
shepherds (Bible, Luke 2:8 NIV). There is also the star of Bethlehem, a
celestial body, said to have guided three Magi to the birthplace of
Jesus where they rendered gifts. (Bible, Mathew 2:2 NIV). As for
Mohammed, the Quran reports that as a baby he was sent to be taken care
of by a nurse which was the custom in those days. Halimah, his nurse,
explains that with the entrance of Prophet Muhammad, blessings showered
her life such that their property and herd increased daily. Although
drought had spread throughout the deserts and cities, Halimah’s sheep
were healthy and full of milk. Their shriveled trees prospered and grew
back green leaves. The camels regained their milk. Furthermore, a number
of ill people who came to their house were cured because of the
presence of Prophet Muhammad
(www.roshd.org/eng/beliefs/?BEL_CODE=128).Both religious leaders are
said to have performed miracles during the course of their lives. The
new testament in the Bible is full of stories of miracles such as the
turning of water into wine, the feeding of a multitude from a few fish
and bread, the healing of the sick and the restoration of sight to the
blind (Fisher, 2005). These reports of miraculous happenings provided
evidence around which religious credence was given to both Jesus and
Mohammed that eventually led to the widespread acceptance of the
The other similarity between the two leaders is that their
arrival caused a religious disruption – in the sense that both led to
the establishment of new religions; religions that were previously non
existent. Jesus proved a challenge to Judaism with his proclamation that
he was the son of God. Mohammed on the other hand was brought up in a
Judaic and Christian setting only to declare later at around the age of
40 that the Angel Gabriel had visited him and delivered a message from
Allah asking him to recite what became the first words of the Quran.
Both men live a life of generosity and humility. This aspect of
their lives is well chronicled in the respective religious books.
Differences between Jesus & Mohammed
the similarities mentioned above, there were also stark differences
between the two. The most obvious is of course the fact that both men do
not belong to the same period in history. Mohammed lived about 600
years after Jesus.
Whereas historically there is no known biological father of Jesus,
Mohammed’s father died while he was an infant. There is also no
indication that Jesus had a family of his own whereas Mohammed was a
family man with many wives and children.
The messages of both religious leaders in a number of areas are also
quite contrasting. The subject of how to deal with religious enemies is
particularly interesting. The Christian Bible as well as various
scholars reports Jesus as teaching people to conquer through love and to
“turn the other cheek”. Also, in the NIV Bible at Luke 22:52,
Jesus’ disciples started to fight against those that came to arrest
Jesus; he stopped them, and healed a man injured in the fight. The
emphasis of Christian doctrine as far as this subject is concerned is
one of forgiveness, prayer, tolerance and love. In contrast, the Quran
as well as various Islamic teachings state that Mohammed was granted
permission by Allah to wage war to protect religion and unite the
people. (The Quran, Sura 9:5, 29) This is the root of “Jihad” (holy war)
ideology. Mohammed waged numerous wars but constantly pardoned enemies
so long as they agreed to convert. This was after the leaders of Mecca
declared war on Muslims whom they had all along viewed with suspicion.
Mohammed directed the first attack but was injured in the subsequent
retaliation by Mecca. A compromise culminated in the practice of Muslims
facing Mecca while praying as opposed to Jerusalem.
The other stark difference between Jesus and Mohammed is that while
Mohammed called himself a messenger from God, Jesus on numerous
occasions declared that he was the son of God. For example, while as a
young boy his parents found Jesus in a temple discussing the Torah with Rabbis. Upon leaving Jesus stated aloud “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”(The Bible, Luke 2:49 NIV)
There is also the issue of the manner of death. Mohammed died in the
hands of his wife Aisha whereas Jesus was crucified by the Romans in
cahoots with the Jewish leadership for blasphemy. More important is the
claim that Jesus resurrected and ascended to heaven and never actually
died. This is a major belief in the Christian religion.
Impact of the Death of Both Leaders on their Respective Religions
death of Mohammed created considerable chaos in the Muslim world. This
was mainly due to the fact that there was no heir apparent to fill the
leadership vacuum. As a consequence, disagreements broke about between
the Shia’s and Sunni’s. The Shia’s believed that leadership belonged to
Mohammed’s direct descendants. The Sunni’s on the other hand were of the
opinion that the Caliphs should provide leadership. No compromise to
this situation could be achieved so there was a serious split that
exists to this day. After this initial period of confusion, Islam
continued to proliferate growing over the years and being exported to
far away lands such as India, Afghanistan, and The North & East
The death of Jesus and more importantly the ascension claim, led
to a cementing of the belief that Jesus was the son of God. His
disciples took the message of Jesus to all corners of the Roman Empire
and Christianity spread like wildfire. Despite an initial period where
Christians were persecuted for about 300 years, by 313 AD Christianity
had become the religion of the Roman Empire. Their numbers had grown too
large for Emperor Constantine I to ignore or take for granted.
Worship & Spreading Religion
was constantly worshiped by those who had heard of his miracles. The
Christian Bible has numerous instances where people worshiped Jesus by
praising him verbally or throwing themselves at his feet. Christians
continue to worship Jesus as the son of God, it is the Christian belief
that Jesus had been God in human form shown by this quote from the
Christian Bible “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,
and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the
Father, full of grace and truth.” (The Bible, John 1:14 NIV).
Mohammed on the other hand is not worshipped but rather is
revered as the last messenger of God. Unlike Jesus, Mohamed never
claimed divine status and actually disagreed with the notion that Jesus
was the son of God. “Christ the son of Mary was no more than a messenger: many were the messengers that passed away before him …”
(The Quran, Sura 5:75). According to Islamic Web, the Declaration of
Faith of Islam makes it clear that Muslims are taught only to worship
God. This declaration is as follows: “There is nothing divine or
worthy of being worshipped except for Almighty God, and Muhammad is the
Messenger and Servant of God”. (www.islamicweb.com/begin/myth3.htm)
Both Jesus and Mohammed placed great emphasis on spreading their
messages. We find in the Christian Bible that right at the onset, there
was an emphasis on spreading the message of Christ. Nothing demonstrated
this better than the famous quote by Jesus, “come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”
(The Bible, Mathew 4:19 NIV). This statement was made when he was
calling his first disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. The implication
being that the disciple would be used to spread the message of Christ.
This act of spreading the message continues to be performed actively
today with Christian missionaries travelling far and wide to spread the
message of Christ.
Muslims have traditionally used conversion and military conquest
to spread the teachings of Islam. Numerous holy wars were fought in the
name of Allah and the losers were given the option to convert to Islam.
Expansion of the Islamic state was an understandable development, since
Muhammad himself had successfully established the new faith through
conversion and conquest of those who stood against him.
(history-world.org/islam4.htm). Today the practice leans more toward
conversion though there are radical elements within the Muslim world who
still advocate for a more aggressive approach.
- Do Muslims Worship Muhammad? Retrieved March 23, 2009 from www.islamicweb.com/begin/myth3.htm
- Fisher, M.P. (2005). Living religions (6th Ed.). New Jersey: Prentice-Hall Inc.
- Islam from the Beginning to 1300, 2002. Retrieved March 23, 2009 from history-world.org/islam4.htm
- Prophet Muhammad in His Youth. Retrieved March 23, 2009 from www.roshd.org/eng/beliefs/?BEL_CODE=128
- The New International Version (NIV) Bible, 2000, pub. by Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA.
- The Quran, translated by N.J. Dawood, pub. by Penguin Books, London, England.