Buddhism and Islam: A Comparative Essay

Buddhism and Islam: A Comparative Essay

Islam and Buddhism are two very different religions that have their own views about life and its purpose. Their views on issues relating to the possibility of a god, the purpose of life, and cycle of life, death, and an afterlife are all distinct from each other, but at the same time, they have similarities. All Muslims believe in the existence of the One and Only God 'Allah'. They firmly believe that Allah is the highest being and the creator and the overseer of all that existstance. He has no physical connections with earth or his creations that inhabit it, his power is boundless and his potential is limitless. Allah is free from all of the physical wants such as hunger, cold, and yearning which cause us as humans to sin. Buddhism on the other hand, gives credit to no god or creator who initially made the universe and/or controls it in the fashion Allah does. The founder of Buddhism, who is known as Buddha (Siddhartha Guatama), did not want to be a god. He taught that people would be enlightened if they took responsibility for their own thoughts and actions, this principal is called self reliance. His teachings were a guide for living. Muslims can relate to this in the way they are taught to take responsibility for their own actions and sins.

Buddhism and Islam are also similar in the way they both believe in god/s existing in the after death. Muslims believe in the existence of Allah in heaven while Buddhists consider the possibility of gods existing in the heavens but do not say it is a fact. Islam teaches that God created humans with immortal souls. Each individual possesses uniqueness and the power to create his or her own destiny and each is responsible for his or her own action. Buddhists believe that rather than being created by a Supreme Being or god humans were actually born due to karma from past lives. Their karma is made by the karmic connection between their father and mother. Islam also teaches that the task of a human being is to strive to do his/her best in life. Islam discourages its followers to sit and watch their lives pass them by. However, results from their effort will be God's decision. In contrast to Buddhism teaches that there is in fact no god at all, but instead the central purpose of life was to reach as sense of incomprehensible enlightened peace in their minds (Nirvana).

In Islam, life is preparation for the Day of Judgment when Allah will call all people to hear how they have lived. This will dictate their destiny after life. On the other hand, Buddhists believe that humans are on this earth because of the evil things that they have done in past lives and the purpose of life is to reach the state of Nirvana. Nirvana is escaping the cycle of rebirth is to enter the supreme reality that is Nirvana where there is freedom and bliss. To reach nirvana is to be out of existence. Buddhists are taught to do this is by devoting their life to compassion, charity, and non-violence and to clear their mind and learn to drift away out of this life. In Islam, life on earth is a small part of existence. The afterlife is an eternal duration. Every person is responsible for ones actions in life and is accountable in front of Allah on the Day of Judgment. God will raise every one from the dead and he will allow righteous Muslims enter heaven sinners will live the whole of eternity in hell. People will be judged by their deeds as well as their faith. Believers may have their sins forgiven will spend a period in the Muslim equivalent of purgatory and will then go to heaven, while non Muslims will go to hell.
In contrast Buddha’s teachings state, our future lives may or may not be human but while earth we may continue to be reborn because of the sins things that we have done in past lives. Buddhists consider rebirth as another chance to work toward enlightenment while to Muslims life is to be the only chance of proving your worthiness to God so you may enter Heaven.

The ways that both religions encourage to reaching Supreme Reality (Heaven or Nirvana), are also different. In Buddhism, the only way to release ones self from the cycle of re-birth is to follow the "Noble Eight-fold Path". Muslims are permitted to enter Heaven if they have submitted to Allah and are righteous, while Buddhism mainly focus’s on the significance of attaining enlightenment in the mind so they can reach Nirvana. Muslims believe that God gives life and death and death is unpredictable so everyone should strive to do good deeds in the name of god to gain admittance to heaven. A Muslim has to live a virtuous life all the time. Buddhists also believe in living a virtuous life, but rather than please a god, it is mainly to reach Nirvana.
In summary, Islam and Buddhism are two very different religions that have their own views about life and its purpose. Their views on issues relating to the possibility of a god, the purpose of life, and cycle of life, death, and an afterlife are all distinct from each other, but at the same time, they have similarities.
Buddhism Islam
Founder - Siddhartha Guatama Mohamed
Nation of Origin - India Arabia
Date of Origin - 600 B.C. 600 A.D.
Main Beliefs They believe that life is They Believe life is a proving
about kindness and doing right, ground for the after life and
And the only way to gain that you must devote
salvation is through enlightenment. your entire life to Allah.
Holy Book - Tripitaka Koran
Belief in God - They believe in no got but are They believe there is one and only one god.
open to the possibility. (Allah)
Afterlife - They Believe in reincarnation and karma They believe that they will be judged by Allah before heading to heaven or hell

Works Cited

http://library.thinkquest.org/28131/compario.htm Table

http://www.buddhaweb.org/ Buddahism