The Lives of Jesus and Muhammad and Their Influence on the World
Many people only know Jesus and Muhammad as figure heads for the Christian and Muslim religion, but they were real people. The lives of these men have influenced people for well over a thousand years. These religions are still practiced to this day, and although Jesus and Mohammad lived completely different lives, both have had a very strong impact on history and humanity.
Jesus only lived for about 30 years, but he left a long history behind. He was born in Bethlehem, Israel around 6BC. He spent his infancy in Egypt, and he spent his youth in Nazareth, Israel. (Timeline during life of Jesus) He spent most of his life as a carpenter, but started teaching when he was in his thirties. Jesus taught for three years and “attracted a following of thousands” (Timeline during life of Jesus). He lived a traditional Jewish life and taught people to love one another and God. Jesus did many controversial things; the most outrageous thing he did was claim to be God. This was said to be blasphemous, and he was “killed at the request of Jewish religious leaders” (Timeline during the life of Jesus). The Roman Governor, Pilate, was convinced by Jewish religious leaders to execute Jesus. He “was brutally tortured and then hung by his hands, which were nailed to a horizontal wooden beam (cross).” (Brief summary of Jesus’ life, p.2) Three days after he died on the cross Jesus was said to have risen from the dead. “According to more than 500 witnesses” Jesus traveled throughout Israel for 40 days after he rose from the dead (Brief summary of Jesus’ life, p.2). Jesus then returned to Jerusalem where he proceeded to ascend into heaven; he was said to have “left the earth alive by rising up into the sky” (Brief Summary of Jesus’ life, p.2).
Muhammad is another very important person whose history has left a mark on time. Muhammad was born in 570AD in “the town of Mecca” (The life of Muhammad, p. 1). When Muhammad’s mother took him on a journey to visit his father’s grave she became ill and died. At the age of five or six Muhammad became an orphan. He was put into the care of his paternal grandfather, and eventually ended up living with his uncle in Mecca. (The life of Muhammad, p.2). In his twenties he met a woman named Khadija bint Khawalayd, and after some years they were married. Muhammad was still living in Mecca when the town started to become very materialistic; he was distressed by this. Muhammad began to make retreats out of Mecca where he would meditate and fast. “On one occasion, after a number of indistinct visionary experiences, Muhammad was visited by an overpowering presence and instructed to recite words of such beauty and force that he and others gradually attributed them to God” (The life of Muhammad, p. 7). Experiences like this continued to happen and although Muhammad was afraid he eventually told his tribe about these occurrences. At first Muhammad and his followers were “belittled and ridiculed”; later they “were persecuted and physically attacked” (The life of Muhammad, p.8). After a decade Muhammad’s wife and uncle both died, and there was an attempted assassination on his life. Muhammad and the Muslims eventually decided to leave Mecca and travel to Medina where there was a civil war going on. Muhammad was asked to “act as their mediator”; he “remained here for the next six years, building the first Muslim community” (The life of Muhammad, p. 9). The Meccans did not approve of Muhammad’s fame and battles ensued. After three years a treaty was signed allowing Muslims to move without worry through Arabia. By 630AD Muslims had gained much power and outweighed the Meccans. “In January, 630, they marched on Mecca and were joined by tribe after tribe along the way. They entered Mecca without bloodshed and the Meccans, seeing the tide had turned, joined them.” (The life of Muhammad, p. 10) Muhammad died in 632AD and was buried in Medina.
The lives and deaths of Jesus and Muhammad have both had a tremendous impact on history and the world around us. The death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus convinced many people that he was truly the son of God. These miraculous events caused many people to convert to Christianity despite persecution. “Only a few months later in that same city of Jerusalem one record states that some 3000 new followers were added in a single day.” (A brief summary of Jesus’ life, p.5) The incredible events after Jesus’ death caused Christianity to be the faith of choice for many people. 100 years after Muhammad’s death, “Muhammad’s teaching and way of life had spread from the remote corners of Arabia as far east as Indo-China and as far west as Morocco, France and Spain” (The life of Muhammad, p.10). Muhammad’s death was not as strong as an influence in the success of his religion as Jesus’ death was. I feel the actions of Mohammad when he was alive played a much stronger part in creating the Islam religion. After the death of Muhammad “leaders of the Muslim community consensually chose Abu Bakr, the Prophet’s father-in-law and one of his earliest followers, to succeed him” (The life of Muhammad, p.10). Jesus’ death was a very important factor in the spread of Christianity; whereas, Muhammad’s life practices were more of a dominating factor in the spread of Islam.
Jesus is worshiped by Christians and Muhammad is not worshiped by Muslims. Jesus is considered one with God in the holy trinity, and he is worshiped be Christians all over the world. Jesus was worshiped as well when he was alive by his followers. As Jackson states, “When folks bowed before the Lord and worshipped him, in not a single case did he ever rebuke the worshippers and suggest that he was unworthy of such adoration.” (2000) Muhammad is not worshipped by Muslims because in the Muslim religion God is only to be worshiped, and Muhammad was not God. Muhammad is a prophet of God and a teacher, but he is not god himself. In the Muslim religion it is wrong to worship idols or saints. Jesus is worshiped by his followers because he is considered God, and Muhammad is not worshiped because he was a tool that God spoke through, and it is against Islamic religion to worship others than God.
The messages of Jesus and Muhammad are still being carried out today. Christianity is preached, published, and publicized throughout the world through by many different people. There are may different sects of Christianity, and they all practice the teachings of Jesus. Christianity is the largest religion in the world today, and it is followed by Islam. (Major religions of the world ranked by number of adherents, 2007) Like Christianity, the Muslim religion is practiced all over the world by many people. The messages of Jesus and Muhammad are being carried out by the billions of followers that they have.
The lives of Jesus and Muhammad happened about 570 years apart, but they have the largest following of people in the world. Jesus only lived into his thirties and his death was a pinnacle point in the success of his religion. Muhammad lived into his 60’s and accumulated his following for about 30 years of his life. Both of the religions have prospered long after the death of both Jesus and Muhammad, and they are still practiced by many people all over the world.
Adherents. (2007). Major Religions of the World Ranked by Number of Adherents, Retrieved July 8, 2007 from, http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html
Jackson, W. (May 4, 2000). Is it appropriate to worship Jesus? Retrieved July 8, 2007 from, http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/read/is_it_appropriate_to_worship_jesus
Jesus Central. (2007). Timeline during life of Jesus, retrieved July 8, 2007 from, http://www.jesuscentral.com/ji/historical-jesus/jesus-lifetime.php
Jesus Central. (2007). Brief summary of Jesus’ life, retrieved July 8, 2007 from, http://www.jesuscentral.com/ji/historical-jesus/jesus-life.php
Kikim Media. (2002). The life of Muhammad, retrieved July 8, 2007 from, http://www.pbs.org/muhammad/timeline_html.shtml
Originally published at http://sarahganly.blogspot.com.