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Judaism and Islam, religions that are close to each other by their traditions and laws, are divided today by numerous prejudices and mutual accusations. Territory conflict between Israel and Palestinians is often considered as a religious one as both parties refer to provisions of their sacred books, ignoring the indissoluble string that unites these two religious traditions.
Taking into consideration the fact that Islam emerged in Arabia, within actively developing religious life of Jews, it is natural the Islam was influenced by ancient Israel both in terms of religious ceremonies and the whole practical side of the cult. At the same time, Muslims have also had an effect on ancient Israel, as we know that one of the variants of Israeli Judaism is that of immigrants from Muslim countries. The latter is often popularly termed “Sephardim” (Shlomo, Liebman, and Shokeid 7). So it would be just to admit that these two religions started in tight connection to each other.
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Of course, Islam moved away significantly form Judaism, however, this primarily happen in the sphere of ceremonial, while the dogmatic theology of Islam remained in obvious connection to the Jewish traditions.
Most part of prophets before Muhammad, mentioned in Islam, are the ones fromJudaism. Sure, the central place among them has Abraham. That is the reason why Islam considers itself not as a new religion, but as a return to the old one.
Judaism and Islam have much in common starting from the main theological principles. These are two disconcertingly monotheistic religions, based on the belief in one God who has created this world, in prophecy, in a feeling of having been chosen. We shall find that over the centuries, Jews, Christians and Muslims have made the same reply to the question of the 'existence' of God. (Armstrong 45).
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Both religions see the principal mission of a man in fulfilling the God’s commandments according to a certain system, called in Judaism Halakha and in Islam – Sharia. Alike systems in these religions are designed to incorporate monotheistic ideology to routine life of every person. Moses is one the central characters in Koran and stories about him are not limited to one chapter, but appear in all chapters of the Book.
Like in Ancient Judaism, Islam does not have the priests. Holy men of Islam are not the priests and monks, but people who study the Law sent by God. Mohammed, the father of Islam, took the majority of his convictions from the rituals of the Mecca Jews. For instance, the Islam prohibits eating meat of pig, requires to prray every day and to keep a fast – same as in Judaism.
The integrated educational system and common Arabic language uniting the whole Islam world as a language of the cult, law and science, are also very similar to Jewish tradition taking roots in ancient Judaism. The majority of theological terms came to Arabic language from ancient Aramaic language. We shall also see that in both Judaism and Islam mystics developed remarkably similar conceptions of the divine (Armstrong 48).
Islam inherited from early Israel religion the belief that God shows up to people not only to declare His will directly or through prophecy, but also through the book. This contributes to the constant upbringing of a human in the spirit of justice, moral ethics and true knowledge.
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Even geographic centers of Judaism and Islam were located in the same sites. Jerusalem has become the holy place for the Jewish people, Christians and the Moslems. Jerusalem is also the place of the Last Judgment in both Islam and Judaism.
Today the relations between Muslims and Jews are very tight. However, these two peoples should remember that they have more in common than controversial. We all believe in one God – we only use different reasoning to prove the belief (Armstrong 71).
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