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:
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.