Fast Facts

How old is each religion?
What is each religion’s attitude to God?
Who are the prophets?
Who was Jesus?
How many are there worldwide?
Where do we pray?
What are our dietary laws?
Do we have a special day?
What are the various groups within each religion?
Do all groups within each religion hold the same beliefs?
What types of people make up each religion?
What are the fundamental beliefs of each religion?

FAQ’s on Judaism (coming soon)

FAQ’s on Christianity (coming soon)

FAQ’s on Islam

What is Islam?
Who are Muslims?
What do Muslims believe?
How does one become a Muslim? What is Islam?
What does Islam mean?
Who is Muhammad?
What is the Quran?
Are there any other sacred sources?
What are the ‘Five (5) Pillars’ of Islam?
What do Muslims think about Jesus?
Do Islam, Judaism & Christianity have different origins?
What is the Ka’ba?
How do Muslims view death?
What does Islam say about war?
What is Prohibited In Islam – Haram?

Fast Facts

How old is each religion?
Judaism dates itself back to Abraham and Sarah, about 4000 years ago
Christianity developed about 2000 years ago, but bases itself on the Hebrew Bible, going back to Abraham. The prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) lived around fourteen hundred years ago, but Islam too traces its roots back to Abraham

What is each religion’s attitude to God?
Judaism believes there is one all-knowing God
Christianity believes there is one all-knowing God
Islam believes there is one all-knowing God

Who are the prophets?
Jews all believe that God has spoken to humanity through prophets – but we all think our own prophets were the last
Jesus – but we also believe that he was more than a prophet, and we call him our Saviour
Muslims accept the Jewish and Christian prophets, but for us, Muhammed – peace be upon him – is the last prophet.

Who was Jesus?
Jews think Jesus was a Jewish teacher but not a prophet
Christians believe Jesus is the Son of God
Muslims consider Jesus to be a prophet

How many are there worldwide?
There are nearly as many Jews in America as in Israel
There have been Christians in India for nearly 2000 years
Today, most Muslims are Asian, and there are about 37 million Muslims in China

Where do we pray?
Jews pray in a Synagogue.  The Synagogue is also for study and meeting
Christians pray in a Church.  The church is also a community and education centre
Muslims pray in a Mosque, which is also a place to meet and study

What are our dietary laws?
Jews are supposed to eat only food which is Kosher – a Hebrew word meaning ‘suitable’
Christians will eat almost anything, but at some times, especially in the weeks leading up to Easter, some will change their diet to avoid meat
Muslims should only eat food which is Halal – an Arabic word meaning ‘permitted’

Do we have a special day?
The special Jewish day of the week is Shabbat, which starts on Friday night and runs through Saturday
The Christian Sabbath is on Sunday, though some begin on Saturday evening
The special day for Muslims is Friday

What are the various groups within each religion?
There are different streams of Judaism – the major groups are Orthodox, Conservative and Reform
The major Christian groups are Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant
Islam has two main groups, Shi’a and Sunni

Do all groups within each religion hold the same beliefs?
In Judaism, we have a huge range of interpretations and traditions
In Christianity we find all sorts of different groups and practices
In Islam too, we find wide variation in interpretations and cultures

What types of people make up each religion?
There are poor, struggling Jews and there are successful Jews – just like all people
Some Christians have a loud voice, others are rarely heard – just like all people
Some Muslims wear traditional clothing, others wear designer labels – just like all people

What are the fundamental beliefs of each religion?
But all Jews should believe in justice, compassion, caring, dignity and human rights
As should all Christians
And Muslims too should share these common values – we all wish to build a better world

What is Islam?
Islam is one of the three Abrahamic faiths. It is not a new religion. It is in essence, the same original message and guidance provided by God, revealed to all His prophets.

Who are Muslims?
Around one billion people from a vast range of races, nationalities and cultures across the globe who believe in the religion of Islam, that is believe in the oneness of God, his final messenger Muhammad (PBUH – Peace and Blessings be Upon Him) and the holy book the Quran. There are at least 300,000 Muslims in Australia.

What do Muslims believe?
Muslims believe in the One God; in the Angels created by Him; in the prophets through whom His revelations were brought to mankind; in the Day of Judgement; in God’s complete authority over human destiny and in life after death.
Muslims believe in a chain of prophets (messengers) starting with Adam and including Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Jesus to name a few. But God’s final message to humanity, a reconfirmation of the eternal message and summing-up of all that has taken place before, was revealed to the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) through the archangel Gabriel.

How does one become a Muslim?
Simply by saying “there is no god apart from God and Muhammad (PBUH) is the messenger of God”. By this declaration the believer announces his or her faith in all God’s messengers and the scriptures they brought.

What does Islam mean?
The Arabic word ‘Islam’ simply means ‘submission’ and derives from a word meaning ‘peace’. In a religious context it means complete submission to the will of God. ‘Allah’ is the Arabic name for God.

Who is Muhammad?
Muhammad (PBUH) was born in the city of Makkah (Arabia) in the year 570 AD. At the age of 40, while engaged in a meditative retreat, Muhammad (PBUH) received his first revelation from God through the angel Gabriel. The revelations which continued periodically for 23 years are known collectively as the Quran.
By the time the Prophet (PBUH) died at the age of 63, the message of Islam had spread as far as Spain in the West and China in the east.

What is the Quran?
The Quran is the sacred holy book of Islam and is believed to be a collective record of the exact words revealed by God in the Arabic language through the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It was memorized by Muhammad (PBUH) and then passed on to his Companions and written down by scribes. There are a total of 114 chapters which remain in the original text from 14 centuries ago.

Are there any other sacred sources?
Yes, the ‘sunna’, the sayings and practices of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), is the second authority for Muslims. A ‘hadith’ is a recorded text of what the Prophet (PBIH) said, did and/or approved. Essentially there are two fundamental sources for Muslims, the Quran and the Hadiths.

What are the ‘Five (5) Pillars’ of Islam?
They are the framework of the Muslim life: faith, prayer, charity, fasting & pilgrimage.
1 – Faith
There is no god worthy of worship except God and Muhammad (PBUH) is His messenger. This declaration of faith is called the ‘Shahada’.
2 – Prayer
Salat is the name for the daily obligatory prayers which are performed five times a day. The prayer can be performed alone or in congregation at a mosque. There is no hierarchical authority in Islam and no priests, so the prayers are led by a learned person who knows the Quran chosen by the congregation. Verses from the Quran are read throughout the prayer. Muslims face the direction of the Ka’ba (holy shrine in the city of Makkah) during the prayer and take ablution before beginning.
Prayers are performed at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and nightfall. Although it is preferable to perform prayers in a mosque, a Muslim can pray almost anywhere, such as in fields, offices, factories and schools.
3 – The ‘Zakat’: Charity
One of the most important principles of Islam is that all things belong to God, and that wealth is therefore held by humans in trust. The word ‘zakat’ literally means ‘purification & growth’. The zakat involves the payment each year of two-and-a-half percent of one’s capital which is given to the poor and needy.
4 – The Fast
Every year in the month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Islamic calendar) Muslims fast from first light and until sundown, abstaining from food, drink and sexual relations. If they are unable to do so, they should feed a needy person for every day missed. Although the fast is also beneficial to the health, it is regarded principally as a method of self-purification.
5 – Pilgrimage (Hajj)
Annually there is a pilgrimage to the holy city of Makkah (in what is today known as Saudi Arabia) – the ‘Hajj’ is a once in a lifetime obligation for all able bodied and financially able Muslims to undertake. Over two million Muslims each year, from every corner of the globe, perform the Hajj, providing a unique opportunity for those of different nations to meet one another. The rites of the Hajj are said to date back to Abraham.

What do Muslims think about Jesus?
Muslims respect and revere Jesus (PBUH) and await his Second Coming. They consider him one of the greatest of God’s messengers to humanity. The Quran confirms his virgin birth and Mary is considered the purest woman in all creation (a chapter in the Quran is entitled “Mary”).

Do Islam, Judaism & Christianity have different origins?
No. All three monotheistic faiths go back to the prophet Abraham, and their three respective prophets are directly descended from his sons; Muhammad (PBUH) from Ishmael and Moses & Jesus from Isaac.
Muslims believe that Abraham established the settlement which today is the city of Makkah and built the Ka’ba towards which all Muslims turn when they pray.

What is the Ka’ba?
The Ka’ba is the place of worship which we believe God commanded Abraham and his son Ishmael to build over four thousand years ago. The rectangular building was constructed of stone on what many believe was the original site of a sanctuary established by Adam. God commanded Abraham to summon all humanity to visit this place and when pilgrims go there today they say “At thy service, O Lord” in response to Abraham’s summons.

How do Muslims view death?
Like Jews & Christians, Muslims believe that the present life is only a trial preparation for the next realm of existence and that this existence is only a temporary one whereas the hereafter is for all eternity. Basic articles include: the Day of Judgement, Resurrection, Heaven & Hell.
What does Islam say about war?
Islam permits fighting in self-defence and in defence of religion. War is the last resort and is subject to rigorous conditions. The term “jihad” literally means ‘struggle’. It does not mean “holy war”.
What is Prohibited In Islam – Haram?
The prohibition of things is due to their impurity and harmfulness. Pork, alcohol, drugs, gambling, adultery, fornication and homosexuality are some haram items which are deemed unhealthy for the individual and society as a whole.