Many people today view a prophet as basically any person who sees the future, but while they remain right, a prophet is far more than a person with that ability. A prophet is principally a person who has been chosen by God to speak to the people on behalf of God to convey a teaching or message. In the past prophets were role models of holiness, scholarship and were always closer to God. They were mandated with the task of setting standards for the whole community. This paper will indulge in an explicit analysis on the prophetic beliefs that are found in Judaism, Catholicism and Islam.
The research paper will begin by critically analyzing the prophetic beliefs that are instituted in the Judaism religion. To begin with, the central idea of Judaism or the belief that is articulated by the Jews is that of a single, omnipotent and incorporeal God who is the ruler and creator of the earth. The declaration of the belief above appears throughout the Jewish texts. According to Jews, their greatest prophet is Moses since they belief that he saw all the other prophets combined (Andrea 114). In addition, he saw the whole of Torah including the writings and the prophets who had been written hundreds of years ago. All the prophecy that subsequently followed was a manifestation of what had already been seen by Moses. Thus they firmly believe that there is absolutely nothing that can be in conflict with the writings by Moses because he had already envisioned it in advance. The Talmud a common belief amongst the Jews asserts that the writings by the prophets are not necessarily for the world that is coming, since they belief that in that day all the people in the world will be have a perfect mental, spiritual and ethical capability and so the gift of prophecy will be within the people. The prophets in the Judaism religion include, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joshua, Pinchas, Elkanah, Eli, Samuel, Gad, Nathan, David, Solomon, Iddo , Michaiah son of Imlah, Obadiah, Ahiyah the Shilonite, Jesu son of Hanani, Azariah son of Oded, Jahaziel the levite, Eliezer son of Dodavahu, Hosea, Amos, Micah the Morashtite, Amoz, Elijah, Elisha, Jonah ben Amittai, Isaiah, Joel, Nahum and many others (Paul 49). There were female prophets too, Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Abigail, Huldah and Esther making the list.
Many with a little Jewish background may have heard of the famous Daniel and may be wondering why he is not among the list of prophets. Well, the Jews assert that his visions of the future were not deliberated for proclamation and were specifically designed to be written down for the future generations, thus according to them they are basically writings and not prophecies as found out.
American Muslims are doctors, factory workers, immigrants and converts. The unity for the various communities is in the common faith and the large number of mosques available for worship. The Muslims in North America settled there in the eighteenth century. The United States alone has a Muslim population of 5.5 million people. Afro-Americans form majority of the Muslim population in the US. The next largest group comprises immigrant communities from the various countries especially in Eastern Europe. Islam is appealing to most people because of its simplicity and appeal to the heart and reason. The teachings are similar to those of Judaism and Christianity, in terms of the afterlife, human responsibility and teachings about God. The Muslims are advised to follow the teachings of Muhammad, the last prophet of God. Ramadan is the period of obligatory fasting that occurs in the ninth month of the Muslim calendar.
Based on the teachings of Muhammad, there are various principals that all Muslims agree on. They believe in one unitary God, and disagree with the belief of a holy trinity like the Christians do. They believe that Abraham was the first prophet, and that Moses and Jesus were also prophets. The Islam believes that Muhammad was the last of the prophets chosen by God to bring humanity his message. The Muslims also believe that there will be a resurrection on the judgment or last day.
Having a critical look at Islam, Muslims assert that prophets are the humans who have been given the work by God of a special mission in leading humans. Muslim therefore believes that all prophets are assigned the task of worshiping. Followers of Muslim also believe in prophesy. Each prophet in the Islamic religion had one believe and preached in the same belief (Yvonne 2). They believe that each of the prophets has his/her period of preaching prophesy during their history including Jesus who would tell of the coming of the final prophet or messenger the ‘AHMAD’ known widely as Muhammad. Each of the prophets would direct a message to a different group of people and were hence said to preach according to moments (Rodriguez 3).
The tradition of Islam asserts that God sent messengers to almost every nation and so according to them, Muhammad was one of the messengers that were sent to transmit the Quran, their holy book which is universal in its message (Paul 3). The main reason why Muslims feel that the Quran is universal is mainly due to the fact that it remain uncorrupted compared to the previous Islamic books, namely the Torah that was given to Moses, Psalms that was given to David and the gospel that was given to Jesus, since they feel that the books above were meant for a certain community and additionally, many prophets who would tell people of the correct scripture were yet to come (Alwi 7). So by virtual of Muhammad being their last prophet they believe that he was the true prophet who brought along a vouchsafed book which will true to the Muslim beliefs. Examples of Islamic prophets as Quram mention include: Adam, Idris or Enoch, Noah, Hud, Saleh, Abraham, Lot, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Shuayb, Moses, Aaron, David, Solomon, Elijah, Elisha, Jonah, Ezekiel , Zechariah, John the Baptist, Jesus and Muhammad.
Looking at Catholicism, the prophetic beliefs are not that much different from the Judaism beliefs. The list of prophets is almost the same (Zhang 1). The only contrasting factor between both religions is the issue of Jesus. Jewish do not believe that Jesus was the son of God and that he was sent to earth to save man. They view him as an ordinary Jew who never lived to the promises of the Jews. The view by Catholics is different since their church is a direct and organization descent from the original church that was founded by Jesus and to them Jesus is divine.
Judaism is at times seen by Muslims to be closer to Catholism, and at other times seen by Catholism to be closer to Islam. This is because Judaism is the parent religion of the two, and intermediate between them. Islam is at times seen to be positioned between Christianity and Judaism. Both Judaism and Islam believe Jesus was the son of God and salvation for mankind was realized through the death of Jesus. The Jews believe that Jesus lived hundreds of years ago, while the Muslims see him as a messenger of God, and Muhammad was the most important of all the prophets. According to the Muslims, the perfect revelation of God’s will is found in the Koran. Islam, Catholism and Judaism base their exegesis on the same prophets, who preceded Jesus, hundreds of years before him. In the Koran, Jesus is recognized as one of the prophets but not the son of God, or the Messiah. They believe that the Messiah is yet to come, and are patiently waiting till he comes, so that he can establish a better age to come. The experience between the Jews and the Muslim is a difficult one to explain since the Muslims have ruled the Jews for over fourteen centuries. There were few instances of persecution due to the discrimination between them. The situation between the two has been seen to lie between the worst and the best of Christendom.
The main similarities of the three religions are because of the fact that they are all ‘Abrahamic religions’ since they trace their history to the covenant that was made between God and Abraham in the Hebrew Bible (Andrea 98). The prophets in the Judaic religion are recorded in the bible same as the Catholicism faith and the Islamic faith that records theirs in the Quran. This firmly asserts that despite the disparities that have been found all the three religions have one root that is God and the covenant of Abraham is the covenant that led to the emergence of the religions above. The prophets are on a large scale the same safe for the few who are the reason why the disparities exists (John 4). These are Muhammad and Jesus. While Christians view Jesus as the son of God and second in the kingdom of God, who came to earth to save the world from sins, the Muslims view him as an ordinary prophet other they still believe some of the things that Christians believe about Jesus but for the Jews it is a different story as they view him as an ordinary Jew. Jesus is the leader of all the prophets and the prophets words are a manifestation of what will come to pass but the Jews and Muslims all view that the commands come from God.
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