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Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad

I.                   Introduction:

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There are many known religions in the world today. We have Islam, Christianity and etc. These religions have their own respected, feared and even praised and worshipped figures. These are Moses, Muhammad and Jesus Christ. These prophets/ saviours are the one being prayed by their followers. They get their strength and hope among the aforementioned. They play a great role in the lives of millions of individuals having and strictly following on their faith for that particular religion.

II.                Discussions:

Muhammad
Muhammad, an Arabian prophet and the founder of Islam, the religion of the Moslems. A brilliant religious teacher, a wise governor and a successful military leader, he was one of the most influential men in history. The Koran, Islam’s sacred book, consists of Muhammad’s teachings as recorded by his followers. Moslems believed that Allah (God) is the author of the Koran, and that he spoke to the Arabians through Muhammad, the last of his prophets. Moslems do not regard Muhammad as being divine and for that reason they object to the terms Mohammedanism, sometimes used by Westerners for Islam and Moslems.

Less is known of Muhammad’s personal life from the Koran than from early biographies, and from sayings and deeds traditionally attributed to him. According to all reliable evidence he lived simply, showed sympathy for the weak, and – contrary to the opinion of some Christian historians- had a strong moral character, at least by the standards of his time. It is also clear that he was intelligent, capable, and shrewd man with a powerful personal appeal.

He was born in Mecca, in what is now Saudi Arabia. He belonged to one of the city’s leading families but was left an orphan early in life and was raised by an uncle the boy received little formal education but probably could read and write. From traders in Mecca and from foreigners he met while travelling with his uncle, he gained knowledge of the Bible, Judaism, and Christianity.

As a young man Muhammad became the commercial agent for Khadija, a wealthy widow. They were married when he was 25. Their daughter and only surviving child, Fatima, became the ancestor of all Moslems who claim descent from Muhammad. After the death of Khadija, Muhammad had many wives. His object, in accordance with the custom of his time, was mainly political- to reward his followers by marrying their daughters, and to gain a male heir. Muhammad outlived all his sons, however.

His first marriage gave him financial independence and the leisure to spend long periods in meditation. He worried about the ignorance and superstition of his people and apparently lost faith in the heathen gods of Arabia. He was also disturbed by the extremes of wealth and poverty that he saw around him. In his 40th year, while praying on a solitary mountainside near Mecca, Muhammad had his first vision. He thought he saw the angel Gabriel, who ordered him to reform the faith of his people. At first, according to Moslem tradition, Muhammad doubted his own sanity, but was finally convinced that the vision was real. His first converts were close friends. Muhammad did not preach in public until about three years later. His message was: There is but one God and He will judge all men. He continued to have visions and revelations for the rest of his life. He believed that Gabriel dictated God’s word to him and that he (Muhammad) was chosen to deliver this word to man. He never claimed to have other supernatural or miraculous powers. The visions appeared to him while he was in a trance. He is said to have preached in a flowing, rhythmical prose so well- phrased that his followers were convinced it must have been divinely inspired. When Muhammad denounced the worship of idols, his fellow Meccans saw that he was establishing a new religion. They bitterly opposed this movement for both economic and political reasons. Mecca was a pagan religious shrine and pilgrimages contributed heavily to its wealth. Thus a major source of the city’s income would be cut off of Muhammad succeeded in stamping out the pagan faiths. Furthermore, the ruling families realized that acceptance of Muhammad’s teachings would overthrow the existing political order. Muhammad escaped murder only because his enemies feared the revenge of his powerful family. He also had his struggles in Mecca. Although the Meccans remained hostile to Muhammad, he proclaimed Mecca the central shrine of Islam and set about gaining control of it. First, he began raiding the Meccans caravans, thus threatening the city’s economy. In the next five years, Medina and Mecca fought three important battles. Badr was a brilliant victory for Muhammad.  Ohod was an indecisive victory for Mecca. And in the “Battle of the Ditch”, Muhammad successfully defended Medina by digging a trench around the city. In 628 the two cities reached a truce, and Muhammad and his followers made a pilgrimage to Mecca the next year. When in 63o Muhammad returned with an army of 10,000, the Meccans surrendered without a fight.

Muhammad pardoned most of his former enemies and protected the city from plunder. He destroyed the pagan idols but kept the two central objects of pagan worship- the Black Stone (an ancient meteorite) and the Kaaba (a building protecting the Black Stone). He gave them a symbolic meaning and made them sacred to Islam.

By the time of Muhammad’s death two years later, the rule of Islam had spread over much of Arabia, and its adherents were on the verge of further conquests.

Moses
Moses, the lawgiver and founder of the Hebrew nation, and the greatest figure of the Old Testament. He led the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt, and during the 40 years that they wandered in the wilderness of the Sinai Peninsula molded them into a nation. Moses brought to his people a system of law, gave them a covenant, or compact, with God, and set them apart with a sense of moral commitment to Him. His story is told in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

      The first five books of the bible- the Pentateuch- are traditionally called the Books of Moses. It was a long believed that these books were written by Moses himself, but most modern scholars believed they were written centuries later. Moses probably lived during the 13th and early 12th centuries B.C. the Israelites are mentioned in an Egyptian inscription of about 1220 B.C., but the Exodus is not recorded. Moses was born in Egypt while the Israelites were in bondage. His parents were of the Levites tribe. Because the pharaoh, or king, of Egypt had ordered that every Israelites baby boy be killed to prevent the Israelite slaves from becoming too numerous and strong, Moses’ mother was forced to hide her infant. She placed him in a cradle among the reeds of the Nile, while his sister Miriam watched nearby,

The daughter of Pharaoh came to the river to bathe, found the baby, and took pity on him. Through the quick- wittedness of Miriam, the baby’s mother was employed to nurse him. Pharaoh’s daughter called the child Moses, meaning drawn out; because she drew him out of the water. The child grew up in Pharaoh’s household and was educated as an Egyptian. In time Moses learned of his parentage and was troubled by the oppression of his own people. One day he killed an Egyptian overseer who was mistreating an Israelite. When pharaoh heard of this, Moses had to flee. He found refuge in the Sinai Peninsula with Jethro, a Midianite priest. Moses married Jethro’s daughter, who bore him two sons. For 40 years he remained with Jethro and learned about his worship of Yahweh, or God. While Moses was with Jethro’s flock near Mount Horeb he heard God’s call from a burning bush. God revealed Himself and ordered Moses to lead his people out of the bondage and into Canaan, a land “flowing with milk and honey.” When Moses argued his unfitness, God showed him miracles as signs that he was divinely called. Still he hesitated because he lacked confidence in his speaking ability. God then promised that Aaron, Moses’ brother, should be his spokesman. When Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh to urge him to let their people go, the monarch merely added to the burdens of his slaves. The Egyptians were punished by a series of plagues, the last being the death of each of their first- born. Desperate, Pharaoh consented, and the Israelites departure- the Exodus- began as they set out toward the Promised Land, which is Canaan. Pharaoh changed his mind, however, and soon the Hebrews were pursued by an Egyptian army. At the “Sea of Reeds” which is traditionally translated as the Red Sea, the waters parted miraculously. The Israelites passed through, but the pursuing Egyptians were drowned. The Israelites moved on into the Sinai wilderness. Moses lead his people to Canaan but before they reached the dreamland they stopped over Mount Horeb and their, Moses received the Ten Commandments, or Decalogue, written on two tablets of stone. These Commandments became the core of Mosaic Law and the Torah or the Bible. God gave instructions for the building of the Tabernacle and for the establishment of the priesthood of Aaron and his descendants.

During their wandering in the desert, the Israelites were sustained by God with manna and quail. When the new generation came of age, God granted the Israelites permission to enter the Promised Land. As the first step toward gaining the Promised Land, Moses led his people in conquering the tribes east of the Jordan River. Because of a lapse of humility by Moses and Aaron, however, neither was permitted by God to enter the Promised Land, which lay west of the Jordan. Of those who had originally left Egypt, only Joshua and Caleb were spared to enter Canaan. Moses turned the leadership over to Joshua, who had been the military commander. Moses delivered several farewell addresses to his people, and blessed each of the 12 tribes. From the plains of Moab he went up Mount Nebo, and looked out over the Promised Land. He died at the age of 120.

Jesus
Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity. The name Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew Joshua, which means “God saves”. Christ is a title, and is the Greek term for the Hebrew Messiah, “the Anointed One”. There are two basic conceptions of Jesus Christ as the founder pf Christianity: 1.) that he is the Son of God, one of the Trinity; and 2.) that God sent him into the world to live as human beings live, to suffer as they suffer, to die  for man’s redemption, and to rise in glory from the grave. The belief is that Jesus Christ was both divine and human, being conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He was tempted as men are tempted but lived without sin.

Christians regard Jesus as Redeemer and Saviour, who was sent to atone for the sins of mankind and to open the door to eternal life for everyone. They believe that he will come to earth again at the Last Judgment to judge the living and the dead and to bring the present world order to an end. He was born in Bethlehem, a village in Palestine five miles south of Jerusalem. Palestine was under Roman domination with Herod the Great as its puppet ruler. There is no way of reckoning Jesus’ exact birth date. The work of Jesus as a prophet, teacher, and healer is called his ministry. He began his ministry shortly after he came back from the wilderness. It is commonly believed that he taught three years, but some scholars believe his ministry lasted only one year. His ministry cannot be traced in detail since the accounts differ. Jesus preached the existence of the Kingdom of God, a society divinely constituted and controlled. It was to arrive in the future, yet is within men’s souls now; it will come in a flash, yet will grow as quietly as a mustard seed. The Gospel of John represents Jesus as the Messiah- the Lord’s anointed who would deliver His people from foreign bondage- and the Son of God. In accepting the role of Messiah, Jesus gave new meaning to the old concept. He conceived the Messiah as the Suffering Servant, who was to give his life as a ransom for many.

Jesus was condemned to death for blasphemy, accused of contending he was the Son of God. The sentence had to be confirmed by Pontius Pilate, the Roman procurator. They charged Jesus that he was preparing to set himself up as king of the Jews. Pilate, wishing to avoid trouble with the religious leaders, condemned Jesus to be crucified. On Calvary, or Golgotha, a hill outside Jerusalem, Jesus was crucified between two thieves. The Crucifixion took place on Friday, and is commemorated on Good Friday. On the first morning of the week, Sunday, two women went to the tomb to anoint the body, but found the tomb empty. On that day- the First Easter- Christ presented himself in glorified but recognizable form to several of his followers. Later, Christ appeared to others over a period of 40 days. On his final appearance, just before his Ascension into Heaven, Christ commissioned the Disciples to be his witnesses on earth.

III.             Conclusion:

Muhammad plays a great role in the faith of Islam, while Jesus and Moses also serves as an epitome of faith among the Christians. They all represent God’s Kingdom in which all of the individuals here in this earth wished to be with for eternity. Moslems greatly respect Muhammad as their prophet who brought them and gave them their founded religion which is Islam. On the other hand, Christianity was helped established by what Moses has done through the power of God who helped him deliver the Israelites from captivity under the Egyptians power. Jesus Christ, who some people considers as a prophet was the one whom the Christians greatly believed that is their Messiah, the one who was crucified on the cross because of His great love for us.

References:

Bock, Emil. Moses: from the Egyptian Mysteries to the Judges of Israel. Inner Traditions, 1986.
Bull, Norman. The Story of Jesus. Abingdon Press, 1983.
Cook, Michael. Muhammad. Oxford University, 1983.

 

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