Hinduism and Islam: Similarities and Differences
On the surface, Islam and Hinduism may appear as entirely different religions, and it is a common misconception that they have not a single thing in common. However, if you take the time to scratch the surface, you will come across various facts that highlight the fact that there are several similarities between Hinduism and Islam.
It doesn’t take long to conclude that both Islam and Hinduism have striking similarities with each other; however, they also have significant differences. For instance, the caste system is present in Hinduism, while Islam focuses on equality among all.
Similarities between Hinduism and Islam:
Concept of God in Hinduism and Islam:
A shallow observation of Hinduism concludes that Hindus worship several gods. Most important Gods include Shiva, Ganesh, Rama, Vishnu, Krishna, and various others. However, if we look at the Vedas (the books considered to be of divine origin in Hinduism), which are considered to be the most sacred, and are valued above all others. We find that they mention that there is only one God and that He has no image or likeness. The same concept of God is present in Islam.
In the Vedas:
Rigveda (The most important of religious scriptures in Hinduism)
- [Book 1, Hymn 164, Verse 46] Sages (Knowledgeable Priests) call the one God by many names.
- In Rigveda [Book 2, Hymn 1, Verse 3], God is referred to as Brahma that translates as The Creator in English also Khaliq in Arabic. Khaliq is a well-known name and attribute of God in Islam, and Muslims have no objection in mentioning Him by this name.
- O friends, do not worship anybody but Him, the Divine One. Praise Him alone [Rigveda 8:1:1]
Yajurveda (One of the essential religious scriptures in Hinduism)
- “There is no image of him” [Yajurveda 32:3]
- “He is bodyless and pure” [Yajurveda 40:8]
There are many references to the oneness of God in the Hindu scriptures. To mention them all will be not possible in this article. However, the examples above provide enough proof about the concept of God in Hinduism and Islam. The sacred scriptures themselves oppose the use of paintings, images and, yes, idols in Hinduism as well as Islam.
In the Qur’an:
Similarly, In the Qur’an, The Holy Book of Islam that holds pivotal value in the Islamic way of life, it is mentioned:
- There is no God save Allah [Qur’an 47:19]
- He is the first and the last [Qur’an 57:3]
- There is nothing like Him [Qur’an 42:11]
- Vision cannot grasp Him, but He grasps all vision; He is the Subtle One, the Aware One [Qur’an 6:103]
The above extracts from Hindu and Islamic scriptures conclude the argument that both are monotheistic religions regardless of popular opinion. The followers of the former are unaware of this fact due to the misleading propagation and spreading of Hinduism.
God is All-Powerful
In both religions, God is believed to be All-Powerful. He has the power to execute and implement His will.
It is mentioned in the Qur’an:
- …He adds to His Creation in any way He wills. Allah has power over all things. [Qur’an 35:1]
- Verily, His command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to It, “Be!”–And It Is! [Qur’an 36:82]
- It Is Allah Who Created Seven Heavens and Of the Earth the Like Thereof (I.E. Seven). His Command Descends Between Them (Heavens and Earth) That You May Know That Allah Has Power Over All Things and That Allah Encompasses All Things in Knowledge. [Qur’an 65:12]
According to the Sacred Scriptures of Hinduism, God is all powerful and can do as He desires. He is all- knowing and All Powerful in Hinduism as well as Islam. And Holds the Power to Everything in existence.
The love of God Is Equal For all
In Islam and Hinduism alike, God loves everyone equally. God is personal. He cares about the universe and everything within. And he listens to all prayers.
In Bhagwat Gita, it is said
- In whatever (manner) they approach Me, in the same manner I reward them. O Partha, human beings follow My path in every way. [Bhagwat Gita 4:11]
- Ask forgiveness of Him, and turn to Him (in repentance): for my Lord is Near, the Answerer (of prayers). [Qur’an 11:61]
- Noah did certainly call to Us, and We are the best to answer prayers. [Qur’an 37:75]
Believing in the responsibility towards other members of society:
Islam and Hinduism both firmly believe that everyone has a responsibility towards other people of the community. That is why they emphasize Charity, forgiveness, righteousness and compassion. These qualities, if present in a society, unite and reinforce the people.
Islam and Hinduism Believe in non-violence:
Both the Hindu and Muslim sacred scriptures advise to avoid killing unless necessary, or during a war. Otherwise, believers are obliged to treat others kindly; hence, the qualities mentioned above.
Violence is considered a sin
Violence is considered a sin and is to be avoided in both religions.
Differences between Islam and Hinduism
Religious practice or the way of worship is a major difference between Islam and Hinduism
- Muslims: The five pillars of Islam, i.e. praying five times a day, keep fasts, believing in only one God, Believing in the prophets, Charity to the poor and Pilgrimage
- Hindus: Yoga, Communal Worship, Meditation, Mantra (Recitation) in remembrance of God
Both religions originated on separate locations. The difference between the origin of Islam and Hinduism is clear in history.
- Islam originated on Mount Hira, Mecca, Arabian Peninsula
- Hinduism originated in the Indian Subcontinent
Concept of Afterlife:
Difference of the concept of Afterlife Islam and Hinduism is profound. One believes in constant reincarnation while other advocates Judgement day.
- Hinduism: Constant cycle of reincarnation until or unless spiritual enlightenment is reached.
- Islam: Resurrection and Judgement day. All beings with free-will will be held accountable on the day of judgement and will be punished or forgiven.
Concept of Marriage:
Polygamy in Islam, and Monogamy in Hinduism is considered an extensive difference between Islam and Hinduism.
- Islam: A man may marry up to 4 women that should belong to Islam or another Abrahamic Religion. However, a woman can only marry one man that must be a Muslim.
- Hinduism: A man can marry one woman. However, the kings in Hindu mythology often had more than one wife.
Hinduism: There is a caste system that differentiates the ranks of all in society. It is ranked from highest caste of Hindu Society to the lowest in the following:
Islam strictly opposes the discrimination of any cast, creed, race or colors and emphasizes on equality among all humans.
Comparative religion is the study of various religions compared to each other. This includes similarities as well as differences between Islam and Hinduism. There are plenty of similarities between Islam and Hinduism, many of which are unknown to the majority of people. The concept of God, Attributes of God, Moral values, Rules against Violence, and the Belief of oneness of God are a few to mention. However, there are also dissimilarities present, making Hinduism and Islam both unique in their own way.