Jun 8, 2012

Similarities and differences between Islam and Judaism regarding name giving, marriage and death

In the Qur’an Christianity, Islam and Judaism are known collectively as the People of the Book. Christianity forms part of this trio of desert religions and the early Christians were known as Unitarians for their belief in the One God until there was a split and there are now Christians who believe in the One God and Christians who believe in the Trinity. This article will deal with the rituals of Muslims and Jews.

Name giving in the Muslim faith

The moment a Muslim infant has left his mother’s womb he is picked up by his father who whispers the name of God in his ear. It must be the first word he hears. There is a seven day period his mother stays in bed, and there are celebrations which includes an Imam who pronounces the name of the child. Muslims take the opportunity of birth, marriage and death to celebrate as life must go on.

Name giving in the Jewish faith

A Jewish celebration and name giving in the Jewish faith is called a brit milah which is the circumcision covenant Abraham made with God. The new born child will have two names; the family name as well as a Jewish name which will be used for religious purposes such as their bar mitzvah and marriage. Girls are taken to the synagogue on the Sabbath after their birth and are not circumcised.

Marriage and death in both faiths

In preparation for a Jewish marriage the bride bathes in a mikveh, in natural water which signifies the transition from impurity to purity. The Muslim preparation also starts with water and ablution and prayers. The Jewish partners may choose to fast before the ceremony to show their solemnity of the event. As in Islam, the wedding may be in the home or in the synagogue, and attended by the rabbi or an imam in the case of Islam. For the Jewish wedding, the couple stands under a chupah, a canopy on four poles, which is decorated with flowers. The rabbi in the synagogue recites seven blessings which also give thanks for the creation of the world. The groom smashes a wine glass under his foot as a reminder of the destruction of the Temple and the couple retires to a private room. The Muslim wedding ends with the father of the bride giving his daughter an emotional talk in the wedding bedroom while people look on. The bride and groom are given the family’s blessings and the wedding is over.


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