Sixth, Muslim morality is very similar to both Christianity and Judaism, due to marriage and family being of the utmost importance. Lastly, Muslims adhere to the concept of Jihad which basically means "the continual, inner spiritual struggle for submission to Allah in which all Muslims must engage in on a daily basis." This concept is very similar to what Christians practice, being a daily struggle to become closer to God and his Son, Jesus Christ, via prayer, worship and contemplation (Livingston, 2004, 256).
Likewise, there are five core practices called the Five Pillars of Islam which are required of all faithful Muslims. The first pillar is faith as shown in the speaking of the creed known as Shahada -- "There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is the prophet of Allah." Devout Muslims repeat this belief of faith every single day which helps to keep their major principles of faith at the center of their lives.
The second pillar is prayer five time a day which is preceded by ritual cleansing. Muslims must pray facing Mecca, the holy city of Islam, located in present-day Saudi Arabia. Much like the speaking of the above-mentioned creed, prayer "helps to keep Muslims continually aware of Allah and of the need for submission to him" (Al-Moghamis, 2002, 216).
Unlike Christianity, Islam does not have a weekly Sabbath, yet all devout Muslims gather together to pray at the mosque nearly every day as a group in order to hear the Quran read explained by the imam or prayer leader. While Christians have traditionally interpreted Sunday as the Lord's day, Muslims traditionally meet to pray on Friday after their daily work routine. The third pillar is the giving of alms to the needy.
Muslims are greatly encouraged to make charitable contributions whenever they can, yet the giving of alms is not considered as charity, due to being seen as financial/material assistance from Allah himself. The fourth pillar is fasting during the month of Ramadan which is a time of increased spiritual awareness. Lastly, the fifth pillar is the hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca, "a journey that Muslims are required to make at least once in their lives as long as they are able to do so" (Ikhlas, 1993, 251).
Obviously, the main difference between Islamic beliefs and practices and those of the Christian faith is the absence of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, for under Islamic tenets, Christ is not seen as the Son of God nor as a product of divine intervention. According to Dr. Mark Durie, the true name of Jesus, at least as found in the Quran, was Isa whose message was "pure Islam (or) surrender to Allah." And as a Muslim prophet, much like Muhammad, Jesus/Isa "was a lawgiver, and Christians should submit to his law;" his disciples were also Muslim, "for they said, 'We believe. Bear witness that we have surrendered. We are Muslims." Also, like other prophets of Islam before him, Jesus/Isa "received his revelation of Islam in the form of a book... called the Injil or 'gospel." Thus, Muslims "must believe in the revelation which Isa received" (2007, Internet).
In addition, from the Muslim perspective, Jesus did not die on the cross at Calvary -- "Isa was not killed or crucified and those who said he was crucified lied... Isa did not die, but ascended to Allah." And on the day of resurrection (i.e. The Christian "Rapture"), "Isa himself will be a witness against Jews and Christians for believing in his death" (Durie, 2007, Internet). The most startling difference between the Islamic and Christian beliefs in Jesus Christ is that from the Islamic viewpoint, "Christians are commanded not to believe that Isa is the Son of God." In essence, Jesus/Isa "was simply a created human being and a slave of Allah." In the Quran, it is claimed that Christians "believe in a family of Gods -- Father God, mother Mary and Isa the son, but Isa rejected this teaching" which made the doctrine of the Trinity "a painful doom (for) those who believe it" (Durie, 2007, Internet).
Dr. Durie sums up the whole affair by noting that "Christians accept the Hebrew scriptures, (those) of Jesus and the apostles." In contrast, "Islam's treatment of the Bible is one of complete disregard" (2007, Internet), especially related to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as described in the New Testament. Thus, the Jesus/Isa of the Quran goes utterly against the teachings and beliefs as found in the Holy Bible and for most faithful Muslims, "Isa is the only Jesus they know. But if one accepts this Muslim 'Jesus', then one also accepts the Quran," thus accepting the Islamic faith over Christianity (Durie, 2007, Internet).
Certainly, it seem unlikely to think that a group of Islamic believers could sit down or kneel together in either a mosque or a Christian church and pray to both Jesus Christ and Allah simultaneously. The most obvious reason that this could not happen is because Muslims do not consider Jesus Christ as the Son of God nor as a divine being, created and brought to the earth in order to bring salvation to all mankind. In the eyes of Islam, Jesus Christ is merely a human prophet or messenger of Allah/God and cannot bring about personal salvation or redemption. Therefore, he is on the same religious level as Mohammad. However, it appears that Christianity and Islam, due to sharing so many basic religious beliefs and practices, are truly not that far apart as two of the most powerful and influential religions in today's modern world.
Al-Moghamis, Naser (2002). Christianity and Islam According to the Holy Bible and the Quran. Israel: Darussalam.
Brown, David. (1969). The Cross of the Messiah: Christianity and Islam. London: Sheldon Press.
Durie, Mark. (2007). "Isa, the Muslim Jesus." Internet. Retrieved at http://www.answering-islam.de/Main/Intro/islamic_jesus.html.