Compare Christianity and Islam


Christianity and Islam are the two largest religions in the world. To illustrate the similarities and differences between these religions, the following charts compares the origins, beliefs and practices of Christianity and Islam.

Adherents CalledChristiansMuslims
Name Meansfollowers of Christ (Greek christos, Messiah)Arabic, "submission"
Date Foundedc. 30 CE622 CE
Place FoundedSouthern Levant (modern-day Israel, Palestine, and Jordan)Arabian Peninsula
Original LanguagesAramaic and GreekArabic
Founders & Early LeadersJesus, Peter, PaulMuhammad
Expansionwithin 60 years, churches in major cities in Palestine, Turkey, Greece and Rome; entire Roman Empire by end of 4th cent.within 12 years, entire Arabian peninsula; within 100 years, Muslim world stretched from the Atlantic to China
SchismsCatholic-Orthodox (1054); Catholic-Protestant (1500s)Shia-Sunni (c. 650 CE)
BranchesRoman Catholic; Eastern Orthodox; Protestant

see Christian Denominations
Sunni, Shi'a, Sufism

see Islamic Sects and Schools
Main LocationsEurope, North and South America, AfricaMiddle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia
Adherents2.2 billion

see Christianity Adherents
1.6 billion
Adherents in USA159 million3.3 million
Adherents in Canada21 million500,000
Adherents in UK51 million
TextsBible (Hebrew Bible + New Testament)

see Christian Texts
Qur'an (sacred text); Hadith (tradition)

see Islamic sacred texts
Hebrew Biblecanonical; called "the Old Testament"noncanonical and corrupted but useful as a inspired text
Apocryphacanonical (Catholic) or useful but noncanonical (Protestant)noncanonical
New Testamentcanonicalnoncanonical and corrupted but useful as a inspired text
CreedsApostle's Creed, Nicene CreedSix Articles of Faith
Religious Lawcanon law (Catholicism)Sharia
Religious AuthorityBible; some also look to church fathers, church councils, ecumenical creeds; papal decrees and canon law for CatholicsQur'an, Hadith
Scriptureviews vary: most believe inspired by God; some believe literal Word of God, inerrant in original languages

see Christian Doctrines of Scripture
inspired, literal word of God; inerrant in original language
ProphetsBiblical prophets were true prophets of GodBiblical prophets were true prophets; Muhammad is the final and greatest

see Islamic Beliefs About Prophets
God & SpiritsOne God, who is a Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit; angels; demons; saints

see God & Spiritual Beings in Christianity
One God (Allah in Arabic); the same God revealed (imperfectly) in the Jewish and Christian Bibles
Spiritual Beingsangels and demonsangels, demons, jinn
Revered Humanssaints, church fathersprophets; imams (especially in Shia Islam)
MessiahJesus Christ is the Messiah awaited by the JewsSunni: the Madhi (Messiah) will come in the future; identity is known only to Allah; Shi'a: was born in 869, is now the Hidden Imam
JesusSon of God, God incarnate, Word of God, Messiah, savior of the world

see Christian beliefs about Jesus
true prophet of God, whose message has been corrupted

see Islamic beliefs about Jesus
Birth of Jesusvirgin birthvirgin birth
Death of Jesusreal physical death plus spiritual sufferingJesus did not die, but ascended bodily into heaven (a disciple died in his place)
Resurrection of Jesusaffirmeddid not die; ascended into heaven during crucifixion
Second Coming of Jesusaffirmedaffirmed
Revelationthrough Prophets and Jesus (as God Himself), recorded in Biblethrough Muhammad, recorded in Qur'an
Human NatureCreated good but all inherit "original sin" from Adam, causing a tendency to evil

see Christian Beliefs about Human Nature
born with equal ability to do good or evil

see Islamic Beliefs About Human Nature
Salvationcorrect belief, faith, good deeds, sacraments (Protestants emphasize faith alone)

see Christian Beliefs about Salvation
correct belief, good deeds, Five Pillars

see Salvation in Islam
Predestinationaffirmed by most denominationsaffirmed
AfterlifeResurrection of body and soul; eternal heaven or hell (most denominations); temporary purgatory (Catholicism)

see Christianity on the Afterlife
eternal Paradise or eternal Hell

see Islamic Beliefs About the Afterlife
View of Christianitytrue religionrespected as fellow "People of the Book" but have wrong beliefs and only partial, corrupted revelation
View of Islamrespected as a fellow monotheistic religion, but Muhammad is not seen as a true prophet
View of Judaismtrue religion but with incomplete revelationrespected as fellow "People of the Book" but have wrong beliefs and only partial, corrupted revelation
House of Worshipchurch, chapel, cathedral, basilica, meeting hallmosque
Day of WorshipSundayFriday
Clergypriest, bishop, archbishop, patriarch, pope, pastor, minister, preacher, deaconimams
PracticesPrayer, Bible study, baptism, Eucharist (Communion), church on Sundays, numerous holidays.

see Christian Practices
Five Pillars: Faith, Prayer, Alms, Pilgrimage, Fasting. Mosque services on Fridays. Ablutions before prayer. No alcohol or pork. Holidays related to the pilgrimage and fast of Ramadan.

see Muslim rituals and practices
head covered during prayergenerally noyes
Major HolidaysLent, Holy Week, EasterEid-al-Fitr, Eid-al-Adha, month of Ramadan
Other HolidaysChristmas, saints daysMawlid, Ashura
SymbolsCross, dove, anchor, fish, alpha/omega, chi rho

see Christian Symbols
Star and crescent; name of Allah in Arabic; color green; mosque silhouette.

see Islamic symbols
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