Origin of Semitic religions
The three organized religions that originated in west Asia, namely Judaism, Christianity and Islam are called Semitic religions. There is a strong view, with counter view, that all the religions, though founded at different times of history, are founded by prophets who are direct or indirect descendants of patriarch Abraham. This is the reason Semitic religions are also called Abrahamic religions.
Abraham appears in all of the sacred texts of the above mentioned religions. It is documented in the texts that Abraham had a covenant with God, by virtue of which he fathered numerous children with wife Sarah. Those children are believed to be ancestors of west Asian or Semitic people. Since all the people of Israel are believed to be children of Abraham and Jesus Christ was born in Israel, Christians believe Abraham as forefather of Jesus. All the Semitic religions consider Abraham as the literal father of their religions. Jews believe Abraham is the forefather of all the people of Israel. Followers of Islam believe that Muhammad is hereditarily linked to Abraham’s son Ishmael. Thus Abraham finds a place of importance in all the sacred texts of the Semitic religions, in that all the religions find their root in Abraham.
The term Prophet is derived from the Greek word profetes meaning advocate. In the context of religion, the term Prophet signifies a person whom the God has selected to act as a messenger of his messages to the common people. Prophets are believed to live exemplary lives and bring changes in society through the messages of God. Some are believed to have done miracles. In Judaism Prophet is not only messenger of God, but also a member of Supreme Council of God and at the same time representative of all the people. It is documented in Tora, the sacred text of Jews that a prophet must argue with God for the benefit of his followers. The message the God conveys to the prophet is called prophecy. Prophecy includes praise of God and other dictates to be followed by the believers. Prophet-hood has been in existence in many religious cultures for a long time. Some of the revered and well discussed prophets are; Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.
Difference between Muhammad & other prophets
Muhammad was born in 571 CE in the Arabian city of Mecca. He was orphaned at an early age and was brought up by his uncle Abu Talib. Muhammad, according to Islam, is considered as the last prophet sent by God to the earth, and no other prophet would come to earth after Muhammad. At the age of 40 Muhammad got his first revelation from the angel Gabriel. Non-Muslims believe that Muhammad is the founder of Islam, but Muslims believe that Muhammad restored the faith of earlier prophets like Adam, Abraham, Noah and Moses in the monotheistic religion Islam.
The term Adam is derived from the Sanskrit word Adima meaning primitive or ancient race of human being. The term is the central figure in the Book of Genesis and referred to in old and new Testaments, Quran, Book of Mormon and Gospel. The Book of Genesis mentions that Adam was created by Yahweh, the Israeli God as the first human being. There are differences in opinion among Christians as regards Adam’s disobedience to God and his subsequent fall. Muslims believe Adam was forgiven by God while Christians believe that Christ’s crucifixion was the redemption. Some sects in Christianity and Islam believe Adam was the first prophet.
Noah is described in the Book of Genesis as the 10th pre-flood patriarch, and finds elaborate mention in all the Abrahamic religious literatures including Quran. Noah’s father’s name was Lamech and his mother was either Adah or Zillah. Chapter 6 of the Book of Genesis describes the story of Noah, which tells; when the condition of earth compelled God to take the decision to destroy earth, Noah was 550 years old, and gave birth to three sons, Shem, Ham & Japheth. After that God ordered Noah to bring an ark and fill it with a pair of every living thing and food for them to survive. Noah obliged what God said and the boat reached at the top of a mountain. Flood over, God promised Noah that he would no more curse the earth for sake of mankind, and blessed the sons of Noah. Noah died at the age of 950. Many sects in Christianity and Islam consider Noah as prophet.
Moses is considered an important prophet in all the Abrahmic religions. He was the founder of Judaism, one of the oldest monotheistic religions of the world. The Hebrew Bible depicts Moses as an Egyptian prince turned prophet. Moses killed a slave-master and freed the Israeli slaves from the chain of Pharaoh. Moses is considered an important prophet in Old Testament, New Testament and also in Quran. Moses was born 1391 BCE and died in 1271 BCE. Followers of Judaism and Christianity believe Moses had certain powers which Muhammad lacked. These are;
Moses did many miraculous acts, but Muhammad never ever did any miracle.
Moses spoke to God directly, but Muhammad never spoke to the God.
Moses never said he was possessed by demon, but Muhammad did.
Moses never tried to commit suicide, but Muhammad tried.
Jesus or Jesus of Nazareth (7 – 2 BC to 30 -30 AD) is considered the nucleus and the founder of Christianity. Almost all the religious scholars agree that Jesus existed historically. According to the Old Testament, Jesus was born to Virgin Mary and was son of God, and was raised as a Jew. Jesus used to preach his messages orally and was baptized by John. He was crucified at the order of Roman prefect, Pontius Pilate. Christians believe that Jesus rose from his grave and ascended to the heaven, but must descend on earth some day. Islam believes that Jesus was an important prophet, but does not believe that he was either son of God or crucified, rather was physically lifted by God. Judaism does not consider Jesus as prophet and argues that Jesus did not fulfill his prophecies.
Some of the striking differences between Jesus and Muhammad are;
Jesus claimed that he was God, but Muhammad never claimed that.
Muhammad sinned but Jesus never sinned.
Jesus performed miracle, Muhammad didn’t.
Jesus was crucified, Muhammad died natural death.
Jesus rose from his grave and ascended to heaven, but this not happened to Muhammad.
Jesus was loving and caring, Muhammad was authoritative.
All the Semitic religions namely Judaism, Christianity and Islam find their common root to Abraham. In Islam, Muhammad is considered as the last prophet sent by God to the earth and believes that Muhammad restored the monotheistic faith of earlier prophets in Islam. Abraham, Noah Moses and Jesus are also considered as prophets in Islam. Non-Muslims believe that Muhammad was the founder of Islam. Judaism does not consider Jesus as a prophet. While Moses and Christ had power to perform miracles, Muhammad is not known to have had ever performed miracle. While Jesus, as prophet claimed himself s God, Muhammad never made such claim.