Good Analysis of Differences between Islamic and Catholic Prayer


#1

In the spirit of taking a more productive tack on religious dialogue, I thought it might be nice to post an Italian Sheikh’s paper on the differences between Islam, Judaism and Catholicism in prayer. He talks about the languages used, the preconditions of prayer necessary, and a little about the history. Take a read:

amislam.com/prayer.htm

The central rites of each of the three religions — tefillah in Judaism, the liturgy in Christianity, and salah in Islam — includes the idea of offering to God not only our actions, our hopes, and our submission, but mainly his own Word, to the point that the service is not exactly a gift to him, but rather a restitution to him of the Word through which he created the whole universe. In Judaism and in Islam, the Word of God is essentially manifested in the form of the Torah and of the Qur’an, and this is the reason why their recitation has such a central point in Jewish and Islamic services, while in Christianity that same Word is not understood as transcendentally manifested in a revealed Book, but rather in the person of Jesus Christ. So, the liturgy of the Word in a Catholic Mass, for example, has a role that is preliminary to the Eucharistic liturgy, which is conceived as the offering of the Word of God on the altar as a sacrifice. The common point between the three religions is in understanding the service as restitution to God of the Word of God, which implies a participation of the creature to the same divine nature, but the manifestation of the Word is not understood by Christianity in the same way as it is understood by Judaism and Islam. Consequently, a Jew and a Muslim find no difficulty to immediately understand the similarities between their respective daily services, but they could find some difficulties in understanding the similarity which nevertheless exists between those services and a Catholic Mass. In the same way, a Catholic could be inclined to see in Jewish and Muslim services the mere repetition of words and prayers, without a palpable nature of offering, and even less of offering to God his own divinity.


#2

I’m just really finding it difficult to see the similarity here:

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YUSUFALI: The Jews call 'Uzair a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah’s curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth!

Luke 6:
[28] bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.

Despite your best efforts to believe otherwise, Pro, the message from Mohammed just is not the same message as from the Christ.


#3

O generation of vipers, the axe is laid unto the root of the trees; therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire" (Matthew 3:7,10).

You can swap quotes all day. It is not difficult to pick and choose verse in order to condem a religion.


#4

janG,

Did you read the article?

That was kind of the point. Constructive discussion of the differences, rather than using differences to bash one or the other.


#5

I read the article. In the Mass Jesus the Word of God is the priest and the sacrificial offering. It is the self-offering of the Word made flesh on the cross, re-presented in an unbloody way, on the altar. It is much more then a recitation of scripture. It is the supreme sacrifice of God himself. The Word becomes present on the altar and is consummed by his convenant people. We are not a religion of the mere book, but of the Word who is God.


#6

And what did you think of Sheikh Palazzi’s comment on the way Muslims, Jews, and Christians might see each other’s services in this respect?


#7

He seems to be trying to ally Islam and Judaism. I don’t see them as similiar. He is correct that Christianity goes beyond both in its worship. He should dig deeper into the differences that it makes about God. Loving Father vs. Master of slaves. That is worth his exploring.


#8

I was unaware that I worshiped a Master of slaves. God is not a loving Father to the Jews?


#9

Of course, God is Father to the Jews and to everyone else on earth, for that matter.

The article is interesting but I think that the sheik does not completely understand Catholic liturgy. That is understandable, after all he isn’t a Christian.

There are similarities between the way Jewish worship is conducted and Catholicism and there are probably similarities between Judaism and Islam. This makes sense as Judaism, in a sense, birthed both religions.


#10

In Judaism and in Islam, the Word of God is essentially manifested in the form of the Torah and of the Qur’an, and this is the reason why their recitation has such a central point in Jewish and Islamic services, while in Christianity that same Word is not understood as transcendentally manifested in a revealed Book, but rather in the person of Jesus Christ. So, the liturgy of the Word in a Catholic Mass, for example, has a role that is preliminary to the Eucharistic liturgy, which is conceived as the offering of the Word of God on the altar as a sacrifice.

Yes, the main point of the Mass is to receive the Eucharist but Catholics also have a lot of bible in their services. So, I am uncertain if this comparison actually stands.

In the same way, a Catholic could be inclined to see in Jewish and Muslim services the mere repetition of words and prayers, without a palpable nature of offering, and even less of offering to God his own divinity.

I have heard Evangelicals argue that Catholics are too ritual prone and repeat prayers to often, so this is an ironic criticism.

The sheik would probably find more in common with Catholics then Evangelicals.


#11

Just as a note. Jesus was not criticizing the Jewish people as a whole. He was talking to people in general, especially those in authority over others.

I am uncertain how you get that this verse condemns anyone’s religion.:confused:


#12

Valke, yes Jews speak of God in terms of Fatherly love. Muslims do not. This is where actually Jews and Catholics are so much closer. Muslims are the odd man out.


#13

Just a small point. Much of the service for Jews is not quoting from the Torah. Rather it is prayers from Pslams and other sources. The Torah is central to our religion but it is only taken out for a portion of our services. I would say that at least 50% of the service is made up of prayers from outside of Torah.


#14

I was using that verse as an example of how I could take a verse from the Bible and use it as “proof” that Christanity is not a loving religion. Of course, that is a complete fallacy. That’s why I’m very cautious when other people try to attack a religion by quoting selective verse.


#15

Thanks, it was good to know that.

Do you agree with his assessment that language, precise and in its original dialect, is central to Jewish liturgy though? Does changing the language change the worship the same way it would in Islam?

I’m a fan of Sheikh Palazzi’s work. He’s a professional and he really thinks through his theology.


#16

He does. Poke around his website some, you might like it.

The point of being a slave was that Muhammad used this phrase to show how humble he was before God. All Muslims call him “the slave of Allah”, to make it clear that the religion is not about a personality cult of Muhammad. Rather, human beings are seen as humble servants who do no more than obey God’s will.

I think your negative view of slavery isn’t shared by Muslims because they are mostly not westerners, and the eastern tradition in slavery was far less brutal than the western one.


#17

You Muslims have a tradition in slavery?

But… but… that would mean you enslaved innocent women and CHILDREN.

But… but… that would mean you traded slaves as chattels.

But… but… that would mean you raped your female slaves.

But… but… that would mean the Western kafirs whom you just maligned for mistreating their slaves actually practised general emancipation long before you did.

But… but… that would mean the Western kafirs whom you just maligned for mistreating their slaves actually forced you Muslims to give up slavery in 1962. Even kafir Brazil, home to so many slaves, abolished slavery in 1888. Slavery in the great kafir nation, US of A, abolished slavery in 1865 with Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.


#18

I know that reform Jews do not use Hebrew anymore in their synangogues because I used to attend one. I am not certain about conservative synagogues.

Many older people in Roman Catholic churches can remember when the liturgy was said in Latin.


#19

I can’t speak for Islam. The importance of the language in Judaism is almost paradoxical. It is important because all laws and traditions are based on interpertation of the language and that they be viewed by understanding the original Hebrew. However, Hebrew is a highly interpetive language in many ways, especially when we are reading it without vowels, as we do in Torah.

So while I agree that it is crucial to remain precise with the original Hebrew, the element of human understanding/interpertation of the language is also crucial.


#20

Depends on the reform synangouge. Today some of the service is partially done in Hebrew usually and there is a trend to use more and more Hebrew in the original verse. But I think that is a seperate issue from the importance of the precise language. It is still important as to what our prayers mean and how we pray, even if most jews do not understand the original Hebrew.

Conservative shuls’ services are in Hebrew.


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