Comparative analysis of religions 1. Christianity 2. Buddhism 3. Hinduism 4. Judaism 5.

Islam
CHRISTIANITY:
Introduction God Man and the Universe death Morals Worship Introduction: It is very clear from the Bible's own testimony and that of Jesus Christ and the Old Testament prophets that Scripture is to be regarded as the authoritative word of truth on all matters of basic doctrine. The following is a list of just the most significant verses that support the Word of God's claim to authority. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever (Isaiah 40:8). For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished (Matthew 5:18). All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-I 7). God:
If you read the Bible carefully, you will find that there is not a single unequivocal statement in the whole Bible where Jesus Christ (Peace be on him) himself says: I AM GOD or WORSHIP ME. In fact if you read

But the Lord is the true God--He is the living God and the everlasting King (Jeremiah 10:10). And there is no other God besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none except Me (Isaiah 45:22).

There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy (James 4:12). Thine eyes are too pure to approve evil, and Thou canst not look on wickedness with favor (Habakkuk 1:13). God...works all things after the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:3, 11). Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowiedge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! (Romans 11:33) Man and the Universe: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). So also it is written, "The first man, Adam, became a living soul" (I Corinthians 15:45). And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good (Genesis 1:31). Through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners (Romans 5:19). Just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin...so death spread to all men, because all sinned (Romans 5:12). And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper (Romans 1:28). As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years, yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; for soon it is gone and we fly away (Psalm 90:10). Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? (Romans 7:24). Death:
For Christians whose lives are guided by the Bible, the reality of death is acknowledged as part of the current human condition, affected by sin (Genesis 2:17; Romans 5; Hebrews 9:27). There is "a time to be born, and a time to die" (Ecclesiastes 3:2). Although eternal life is a gift that is granted to all who accept salvation through Jesus Christ, faithful Christians await the second coming of Jesus for complete realization of their immortality (John 3:36; Romans 6:23; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54). While waiting for Jesus to come again, Christians may be called upon to care for the dying and to face personally their own death

Turn to me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other (Isaiah 45:22). For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12). It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment (Hebrews 9:27). And many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt (Daniel 12:2). For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth (Isaiah 65: 17). How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? (Hebrews 2:3). Morals: Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry (Colossians 3:5). Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God (I Peter 2:16). Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice (Ephesians 4:31). For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially believers (I Timothy 4:10). If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God (Colossians 3:1). And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control: against such things there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23). This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world (James I:27). But whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected (1 John 2:5). Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24). Worship: I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images (Isaiah 42:8).

You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God (Exodus 20:4-5). God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood, and has not sworn deceitfully (Psalm 24:3-4). You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (I Peter 2:5). Sing praise to the Lord, you his holy ones, and give thanks to His holy name (Psalm 30:4). And do not neglect doing good and sharing; for with such sacrifices God is pleased (Hebrews 13:16).

BUDDHISM
Introduction God Man and the Universe Salvation and the Afterlife Morals Worship Introduction: Buddhism arose out of atheistic strands of Hinduism current in India in the sixth century B.C. Gautama, called the Buddha ("Enlightened One"), is said to have discovered that both the life of luxury and the life of extreme asceticism were of no use in gaining spiritual freedom; thus he propounded the "Middle Way." His teaching, however, was to undergo many transformations.Buddhism became a great missionary religion and eventually all but died in its native India. The Mahayana school, which developed a grandiose cosmology and a pantheon of semi-deities, is to be found in China, Korea, and Japan; the Therevada school, which is more austere, flourishes in Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Burma, and southeast Asia. Zen is technically a Mahayana sect but has closer affinities with Therevada. All have their proponents in the West. God: Buddhism is non-theistic; Gautama Buddha taught that there was no creator god and believed the more important issue was to bring beings out of suffering to liberation. Enlightened people are called Arhats or Buddha (e.g, the Buddha Sakyamuni), and are venerated. A bodhisattva is an altruistic being who has vowed to attain Buddhahood in order to help others reach enlightenment. Buddhism also teaches of the existence of the

devas, heavenly beings who temporarily dwell in celestial states of great happiness but are not yet free from samsara, the cycle of reincarnations. Some Mahayana and Tantra Buddhist scriptures do express ideas that are extremely close to pantheism, with a cosmic Buddha (Adibuddha) being viewed as the sustaining Ground of all being - although this is very much a minority vision within Buddhism. The gods are all eternal scoundrels Incapable of dissolving the suffering of impermanence. Those who serve them and venerate them May even in this world sink into a sea of sorrow. We know the gods are false and have no concrete being; Therefore the wise man believes them not The fate of the world depends on causes and conditions Therefore the wise man many not rely on gods. Mahâpajâpâramitâshâstra [Lamotte trans. I, p.141] Man and the Universe: Both the beginning and the ultimate nature of the world are left unexplained by the Buddha--once again, those questions are not helpful to consider. The Mahayana school speculates unsystematically about a vast series of heavens, sort of half-way houses on the road to nirvana. But in the end even those heavens are illusory. Mahayanist teaching at least implies that the powers of the universe will see to it that all creatures will eventually find salvation. The Buddha added the notion that all creatures, including man, are fictions: there is really no "self," only a series of occurrences that appear to be individual persons and things. Once the so-called person is broken down into his component parts and his different actions and attitudes analyzed during the course of time, it is seen that there is really nothing holding it all together. (The question of how there can be both reincarnation and striving for salvation without a self has occupied Buddhist philosophy from the start.) The notion of no self is difficult, and much effort is spent trying to grasp it fully. Death: Buddhism sees ignorance rather than sin as the roadblock to salvation. That is, the belief that the world and self truly exist, keeps the illusory wheel of existence rolling--only destruction of that belief will stop the mad course of the world. Its doctrine is summed up in the Four Noble Truths: 1) life is basically suffering, or dissatisfaction; 2) the origin of that suffering lies in craving or grasping; 3) the cessation of suffering is possible through the cessation of craving; and

4) the way to cease craving and so attain escape from continual rebirth is by following Buddhist practice, known as the Noble Eightfold Path. Original Buddhist teaching and the Therevada place emphasis on the individual monk working through self-control and a series of meditative practices that progressively lead him to lose a sense of his grasping self. Nirvana literally means "blowing out," as with the flame of a candle. That is, nothing can be said about it except that it is a transcendent, permanent state. Morals: Buddhist laity are urged to follow the Five Precepts, which prohibit killing (including animals), stealing, illicit sexual relations, wrong speech (including gossiping), and drugs or alcohol. In addition they are expected to support the community of monks. Monks and nuns follow a path of moderate asceticism, including strict celibacy and the repudiation of all personal property. Buddhist religious leaders often are involved in education and charity and even take part in politics; other leaders separate themselves in their monasteries, contacting the public only to gain funds. Original and Therevada teaching indicate that a Buddhist can for the most part help his fellow man only by showing him an example of dedication to meditation and self-denial. Mahayana teaching emphasizes "compassion," which involves aiding people in all areas of their lives, even though such aid does not lead directly toward nirvana. Worship: In most cases what looks like worship before a statue or image is really a sort of paying respects. The Buddha is revered as an example of a saintly life and as the one who brought the teachings of Buddhism; Buddhists are taught that they must themselves overcome the obstacle of ignorance. Meditation in Buddhism can focus on one's breathing (important because it is halfway between voluntary and involuntary action), one's own attitudes (as in Mindfulness meditation, in which one tries to be clear at all times as to one's true motives for every action), a neutral object, or a bodhisattva. In each case the purpose is to divest oneself of craving and sense of self. In some sects it is believed that a bodhisattva can transfer his merit to a supplicant and so aid him to nirvana. In those cases the Buddhist becomes very much like a worshiper petitioning God for grace and mercy.

HINDUISM
Introduction God Man and the Universe

Salvation and the Afterlife Morals Worship Introduction: During the fourth century B.C. Aryans--the same people that developed Greek culture-conquered much of present-day India. Their pantheon of gods, similar to that of the Greeks, combined with indigenous Indian traditions of meditation to form a loose combination of beliefs and practices that came to be known as Hinduism. "Orthodox" Hindus can be either pious worshipers of a god or atheists, self-negating ascetics or men of the world. Hinduism had never been a missionary religion until the twentieth century and is largely limited to India and groups of emigrant Indians. Advaita Vedanta, which believes in complete identity between the inmost self and the impersonal, ultimate God, is the most common form of Hinduism in the West. Jainism probably represents the most ancient, pre-Aryan elements of Hinduism. The Sikh religion attempts to unite elements of Hinduism and Islam. God:
The following verses refer to the Concept of God: "Ekam evadvitiyam" "He is One only without a second." [Chandogya Upanishad 6:2:1]1 "Na casya kascij janita na cadhipah." "Of Him there are neither parents nor lord." [Svetasvatara Upanishad 6:9]2 "Na tasya pratima asti" "There is no likeness of Him." [Svetasvatara Upanishad 4:19]3 "Na samdrse tisthati rupam asya, na caksusa pasyati kas canainam." "His form is not to be seen; no one sees Him with the eye." [Svetasvatara Upanishad 4:20]4 So this is true concept of God in Hinduism.

Man and the Universe: The material universe is not the creation of a personal God but is rather a sort of unconscious emanation from the divine. As such it is (1) beginningless, and some would say endless, and (2) unreal, an illusion because the only true reality is Brahman. Hindus believe that the universe "pulsates," recurrently being destroyed and recreated over

periods lasting about 4 billion years. The world is seen as a huge series of repeated cycles, each cycle being nearly a copy of the last. Man is compelled to play a part in this gigantic, illusory, and wearisome universe. Each human soul is also beginningless and has gone through a series of reincarnations. Hinduism "solves" the problem of the existence of suffering and evil in a fairly neat manner: all present suffering, it says, is exactly deserved, being the paying back of one's karma, the accumulation of deeds done in past lives--and all present evil will be exactly repaid in the form of suffering in future lives. As a result traditional Hinduism often has not paid much attention to relieving the suffering of people, although social reform movements have arisen in the last century. Life is seen as basically painful, full of distress that is only temporarily masked by earthly pleasures. But underlying the unreality and misery, the human soul is identical with supreme Brahman, who has no part of this sorry universe. Death: The final goal of salvation in Hinduism is escape from the endless round of birth, death, and rebirth. That can mean an eternal resting place for the individual personality in the arms of a loving, personal God, but it usually means the dissolving of all personality into the unimaginable abyss of Brahman.
“As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, the soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless.” (Bhagvad Gita 2:22) “As a Caterpillar which has wriggled to the top of a blade of grass draws itself over to a new blade, so does the soul, after it has put aside its body draws itself over to a new existence. (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4:4:3) “The unborn portion, burn that, AGNI, with thy heat; let thy flame, thy splendour, consume it; with those glorious members which thou hast given him, JATAVEDAS, bear him to the world (of the virtuous)” (Rigved 10:16:4) “… Putting on (Celestial) life, let the remains (of bodily like) depart: let him, JATAVEDAS be associated with a body.” (Rigveda 10:16:5) “May all these streams of butter, with their banks of honey, flowing with distilled water, and milk and curds and water reach thee in domestic life enhancing thy pleasure. May thou acquire completely these things strengthening the soul in diverse ways.” (Atharva Veda 4:34:6)

Morals: Because of the vast number of reincarnations of any given individual, Hinduism recognizes that most people's lack of spiritual development means they must lead normal lives. However, it is thought that as a person matures he can grow closer to the ideal of

full renunciation of the personality. Thus, pursuit of wealth and love of the opposite sex are considered proper to certain stages of life, but when people grow old they often leave behind their worldly possessions to pursue the life of a wandering monk. Yet no matter what stage of life one is in, "renouncing the fruits of your labors" is the supreme law of morality. Hindus seek to remain conscious of the illusory nature of this world and so progressively deny themselves, at least in thought, all forms of material, emotional, and even spiritual rewards and property. For centuries the notions of reincarnation and karma have been used to support the cruelties of the Indian caste system, which relegates the majority of people to poverty and subservience. Probably as a result of Western influence the caste system has been substantially dismantled, although the idea that all human suffering is deserved is still responsible for a great deal of injustice Worship: Hindus have a magical and legalistic notion that one can acquire spiritual "points" through contact with all manner of holy objects and persons; that is by and large the Hindu notion of grace. At least among the uneducated an image of a family god is kept in the house, and villages generally have their local icon as well. Animals such as cows, monkeys, and snakes are revered. Certain rivers--the Ganges in particular--are thought holy, and bathing in them is thought to improve one's karma. Even among more intellectual Hindus certain portions of scriptures are memorized and chanted, sacred stories are acted out in plays and songs, and gods are prayed to in an ecstatic manner. Holy men are highly revered, and in serving them Hindus hope that some of their holiness will rub off and aid them to salvation.

JUDAISM
Introduction God Man and the Universe Salvation and the Afterlife Morals Worship Introduction: Never great by world standards, the small nation of Israel was repeatedly defeated and finally dispersed throughout the world. But the Jews are unique in that they maintained their identity in the midst of a large number of diverse cultures. Thus, although a religion closely tied to one ethnic group, Judaism has had a profound effect on beliefs and practices throughout the West and the Near East. There is a bewildering variety of Jewish groups and nationalities, many of whom are strange to each other. One loose way of dividing modern Judaism is into four groups:

Orthodox Jews maintain strict adherence to traditional customs; Reform or Liberal Jews attempt to apply broadly Judaic notions to contemporary culture in a humanistic manner; Conservative Jews try to forge a middle way between the previous two, hoping to maintain strong Jewish identity; and Hasidic Jews follow a mystical path, although many Hasids are little other than the right wing of Orthodoxy. Jews hold a large number of writings besides the Old Testamant as authoritative. The Holocaust, in which over six million Jews were killed under Nazism and other forms of anti-Semitism, has become a major theme of Judaic thought in recent years. God: The complete unity of God--both as a powerful, just ruler and as a merciful, loving deliverer--is central to Judaism.
The following verse from the book of Deuteronomy contains an exhortation from Moses (pbuh): "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord" [The Bible, Deuteronomy 6:4] The following verses are from the Book of Isaiah: "I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour." [The Bible, Isaiah 43:11] "I am Lord, and there is none else There is no God besides me." [The Bible, Isaiah 45 : 5] "Thou shalt have none other gods before me." "Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that in the earth beneath, or that is in the water beneath the earth." "Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them; for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God." [The Bible, Deuteronomy 5:7-9]

Man and the Universe: The material world is considered on the whole "very good" (Genesis 1:31), and man has a unique responsibility to order it according to God's purposes. Some Jews go as far as to say that all people, animals, and things contain a "divine spark," which man is assigned to call forth to completeness through loving action.

The personhood of God and His need for relationships form an analogy for man's most pressing need: to live in harmony with other men. History is the arena of God's purposeful activity, and Jews often look for signs of His approval or judgment in historical events. The great responsibility of man as well as his frailty and wickedness are emphasized. The distinguishing mark of humans is their ability to make ethical choices; it is to those choices that Judaism most often addresses itself directly. Death: One's eternal existence in the hereafter is determined by moral behavior and attitudes. Although there is no Christian notion of saving grace in Judaism, it is taught that God always offers even the most evil men the possibility of repentance (teshuva, "turning"). After such repentance one can atone for one's rebellion against God's ways by positive action. Jews still hope for the coming of the Messiah, who will hand out eternal judgment and reward to all. This hope is largely communal; the entire Jewish race and the whole of creation is in view more than individual men.
"Wealth acquired through wickedness is of no avail, but charity saves from death" (ibid. 10:2).

Morals: Torah ("to point the way, give direction"), often translated "law," refers in Judaism to a total pattern of behavior, ap-plicable to all aspects of communal and individual life. It is to be found not only in the Old Testament Scriptures but also in a wide variety of oral traditions, rituals, ceremonies, stories, and commentaries on Scripture. Jews have often tried to develop rules of behavior to cover each situation encountered in their various cultures. Thus a gigantic literature covering codes of conduct has arisen. From time to time movements have emerged that have tried to cut through those rules and get back to the original meaning of torah, but legalism has been a perennial problem of Judaism. As can be seen in the Ten Commandments, much of Jewish morality is related primarily to the good of the community. The Jewish prophets were perhaps the first strong proponents of social justice in the ancient world, and concern with economic justice continues to be an integral part of Judaism. But material possessions are generally not considered bad in themselves, even the prophets did not denounce wealth as such, but wanted a greater number of people to have more. Marriage and children are held in high regard by Judaism. Singleness is looked down on even for religious leaders, and much time is spent teaching children the precepts of the faith.

Worship: Ritual and ceremony are still important within Judaism. The purpose is to hallow all life, to share one's life with God. Jewish writings say, for instance, that to eat or drink without praying is like robbing God of His property. Thus Jews have a full calendar of daily, weekly, and yearly celebrations. A major part of such celebrations is the remembrance of sacred history. Stories, both biblical and nonbiblical, relating God's deliverance of Israel are retold countless times. There is sometimes a certain boldness mixed with piety in Jewish worship, as can be seen in the story of the Jews in a Nazi concentration camp who put God on "trial" for allowing the Holocaust: they found Him guilty and then resumed their humble prayers of worship and praise.

ISLAM
Introduction God Man and the Universe Salvation and the Afterlife Morals Worship Introduction: In the seventh century A.D. Muhammad--thought to be the last prophet in a line that includes Abraham, Moses, the biblical prophets, and Jesus--founded a strict, monotheistic religion in reaction to the polytheism and lawlessness of the existing Arab culture. Within a century Islam had conquered an area greater than the Roman Empire at its height. Today Islam is almost the sole religion of all Arab countries and has major communities in Africa as well. The Koran, for the most part a series of short teachings, is intensely revered by Muslims as the final word of God, the culmination of what was only begun in the Bible. The word Islam refers to the peace that comes from surrender to God. God:

The Quran gives the answer in C112 V1-4. Qul Hu-wallaahu Ahad (Say: He is Allah, the One and Only) Allaahus-Samad (Allah, the Eternal, Absolute)

Lam yalid, wa lam yuulad (He begetteth not, nor is He begotten) Walam yakul-la-Huu kufuwan ahad (And there is none like unto Him) "If there were, in the heavens and the earth, other gods besides Allah, there would have been confusion in both! But glory to Allah, the Lord of the Throne: (High is He) above what they attribute to Him!" (C23 V91 says:)

Man and the Universe: Muslims see the universe as created by the deliberate act of a personal, omnipresent God. The universe is not considered an illusion in any way and is basically good, being given for the benefit of man. Muslim respect for the world order led to the development of sciences in Arab countries long before developments in Europe. Muhammad did not produce miracles but simply proclaimed the message of Allah. Thus the presence of God in the world is seen not through supernatural signs but through the wonderful order of nature and the one great miracle, the Koran. Muslims generally do not expect miraculous deliverance from suffering in this life but believe that good deeds will be rewarded in the next life. Man is considered a sort of vice-regent, in charge of creation under the authority of God. His purpose--and the goal of Islam--is to make a moral order in the world. Man is endowed with taqwa, a sort of divine spark manifested in his conscience that enables him to perceive the truth and to act on it. Conscience is thus of the greatest value in Islam, much as love is the greatest value to Christians. But Islam is in no way pantheism. Man may cultivate his taqwa and so live according to the way of Allah, or he may suppress it. Man thus deserves or is undeserving of God's guidance. Death: The Koran rejects the notion of redemption; salvation depends on a man's actions and attitudes. However, tauba ("repentance") can quickly turn an evil man toward the virtue that will save him. So Islam does not hold out the possibility of salvation through the work of God but invites man to accept God's guidance. The final day of reckoning is described in awesome terms. On that last day every man will account for what he has done, and his eternal existence will be determined on that basis: "Every man's actions have we hung around his neck, and on the last day shall be laid before him a wide-open book" (17.13). And they say, “There is not but our worldly life; we die and live (i.e. some people die and others live, replacing them) and nothing destroys us except time.” And they have of that no knowledge; they are only assuming. And when Our verses are recited to them as clear evidences, their argument is only that they say, “Bring [back] our forefathers, if you should be truthful.” Say, “God causes you to live, then causes you to die; then He will

assemble you for the Day of Resurrection, about which there is no doubt,” but most of the people do not know. (Quran, 45:24-26) Then is he whom We have promised a good promise which he will meet [i.e. obtain] like he for whom We provided enjoyment of worldly life [but] then he is, on the Day of Resurrection, among those presented [for punishment in Hell]? (Quran, 28:61) Morals: Islam presents a "straight path" of clear-cut duties and commands. Islamic morals are a combination of genuine acts of love and justice on the one hand and legalistic performances on the other. Islam forbids all evil and licentious acts, whether in speech or deed. Allah says: Say, 'My Lord has only forbidden immoralities - what is apparent of them and what is concealed - and sin, and oppression without right, and that you associate with Allah that which He has not sent down authority, and that you say about Allah that which you do not know.) (7:33) "Those who have rejected God's revelations, and killed the prophets unjustly, and killed those who advocated justice among the people, promise them a painful retribution."3:21 "Say, "Why then did you kill God's prophets, if you were believers?" 2:91 It orders and encourages all good morals and manners. The Prophet of Islam, Muhammad said: "I have been sent to perfect righteous and honorable manners." (Haakim) Allah the Exalted and Almighty said in the Glorious Quran: ("Say: "Come, I will rehearse what Allah has (really) prohibited you from": join not anything as equal with Him; be good to your parents; kill not your children on a plea of want - We provide sustenance for you and for them - come not nigh to shameful deeds, whether open or secret; take not life, which Allah has made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus does He command you, that you may learn wisdom." ) [Suraat-alAn'am (Cattle) 6:151] The Messenger of Allah said: "None of you believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself." (Bukhari)

Worship: Muhammad is not worshiped: only God is. Because of strict rules against depictions of human forms in art there is a strong impetus against idolatry or saint-worshiping in Islam. Allah is extolled in hymns that depict his power and majesty. But even Allah cannot be ultimately leaned on for salvation, because salvation is man's responsibility. Thus his guidance, in the form of words rather than persons, is emphasized. For that reason the Koran is revered as perhaps no other book. It is probably the most memorized book in the world. Acts of worship in Islam are embodied in the "five pillars": A Muslim must • • • • recite the basic creed, "There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is His Prophet"; (2) recite prayers in praise of Allah five times daily while facing Mecca; give money to the poor; fast for one month a year; and make a pilgrimage at least once during his lifetime to Mecca, the city where Allah revealed the Koran to Muhammad.

Lo! the hypocrites seek to beguile Allah, but it is Allah who beguileth them. When they stand up to worship they perform it languidly and to be seen of men, and are mindful of Allah but little. The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 4, Verse 142 It is Me, Allah; there is none worthy of worship except Me, so worship Me and establish Salaah for My remembrance. The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 20, Verse 14 But the generations who succeeded them abandoned the Salaah and started following their lusts; so they will soon face the consequences of their deviation. The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 19, Verse 59 Observe the Salaah (Contact Prayers) for it prohibits evil and vice." The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 29, Verse 45 Seek Allah's help with patience and Salaah: it is indeed hard to be patient and to be punctual in offering Salaah except for those who fear Allah. The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 2, Verse 45