During the 1800s comparative religion scholars increasingly recognized Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism as the most significant "world religions." Even today, these are considered the "Big Five" and are the religions most likely to be covered in world religion books.
Buddhism and Christianity And Buddhism Essay Christianity are different religions with numerous similarities as well as differences that one might find really interesting to look at in details.
Hinduism and Islam confronted each other during the medieval period, with little scope for possible reconciliation between the two, because of some irreconcilable differences that could not be just wished away, especially when one of the two factions involved in it were as uncompromising in their beliefs and practices as the Islamic rulers and nobility. Islam came to India as the religion of the conquerors, while Hinduism remained for centuries as the religion of the vanquished. Most of the Muslim rules who ruled India pursued a policy of religious intolerance, either for the sake of petty and personal politics or to receive the appreciation of other Muslim rules or to present themselves to the Muslim world as upholders of Islamic faith. They indulged in the wanton destruction of many Hindu temples, large scale massacre of Hindus and conversion of many through force and fear. Not all Muslim rulers were cruel. But some of them were excessively so. While the Islamic rulers succeeded in creating pockets of Muslim influence, they failed comprehensively in reaching out to a large section of the Indian population and converting them the new faith, either because the latter shunned them for fear or prejudice or because they remained under the protection of Hindu rulers who still managed to retain political power in areas where the Muslim rulers could not reach.
A large proportion of people in the surveys Zuckerman combined to arrive at this total expressly are adherents of named religions (such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Chinese traditional religion, Unitarianism and Christianity).
Muslims worship and submit themselves to none but Allah, the one and only God, who is Merciful, Eternal, Mighty and Infinite. He is the Creator, the Provider and Sustainer of all creatures and the entire creation. He is considered to be not just the highest God of Muslims, but of all the people in the world, including the Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, agnostics and others. Allah is the ruler of the heavens, the earth and all that is between them. Yet He is closer to His pious and thoughtful worshippers, to whom He responds with overflowing love, forgives their sins and grants peace, happiness, knowledge and abundant wealth. Although He is known to most by His popular name Allah, He has 99 other names, which are enumerated in the Qu'ran. According to the Hadith, he who memorizes all the names of Allah, would go to paradise.
The word "Hindu" or "Hindoo" is derived from the Sanskrit root word "Sindhu" and used by Persians, ancient Greeks and many foreigners to denote the people who lived beyond the river Indus, whom Alexander could not conquer. During the medieval period, Islamic scholars and Muslim travelers referred the Indian subcontinent as Hindustan or the land of the Hindus. The word stuck for several centuries and throughout the Islamic Caliphate. During the British rule, the word Hindu was used to distinguish the native Indians who were not Christians, nor Muslims, nor Sikhs, nor Jains, nor Buddhists. The word Hinduism was coined in the 1830s by British scholars to denote the religious traditions of the native Indians to distinguish them from other recognized religions. While they are now popular all over the world under the generic name Hinduism, for generations Hindus recognized their religious traditions as aspects of one eternal Truth that went by the name "sanatana dharma" or eternal law. It is interesting that for over 6000 years, Hinduism went by many names but Hinduism.
Truly speaking, a Hindu is not just a follower of Hinduism or a particular religion. It does not even matter, whether he is a follower of Hinduism or not. Any person who is a seeker of truth and who is interested in knowing the truth of himself and his existence is a Hindu, whether he believes in God or not, whether he is a Hindu or a Buddhist or a person of some other faith. A Hindu is an individual soul who has been separated from God, is under illusion and has been in the process of rejoining God someday. No one need to force him to become a Hindu in the physical sense, because one day, in some birth, he will become aware of what he is or who he is. What he does in between is all part of a Divine Play.
The word "Islam" is derived from the Arabic root word "salaama," meaning peace, obedience, purity, and submission. Islam means abiding peace and unconditional obedience to the will of God and His divine law. While other religions derive their names from either a tribe (Judaism), or a geographical area (Hinduism), or a founder (Zoroastrianism, Buddhism and Christianity), Islam derives its name from its central doctrine of peace and submission to God. Thus the chief message of Islam is hidden in its very name. While the followers of other religions may call themselves as Christians, Jains, Buddhists etc., the followers of Islam refer themselves as Muslims or Mussalmans, but never as "Muhammadans," which some non-Muslims however tend to call them erroneously.
Islam originated in the desert sands of Arabia as a reaction against prevailing native traditions based on the revelations received by Prophet Muhammad. Hinduism originated in the temperate climate of the Indian subcontinent as a result of the synthesis of different indigenous and foreign traditions and in continuation of the prehistoric religious beliefs of lost civilizations.
In Hinduism God is worshipped in many different ways. It is essentially by honoring the dharma or the law of God, which consists of performing obligatory duties that are specific to the caste, profession, gender and the age of a person, and the pursuit of the four chief aims of human life (purusharthas), namely dharma (virtue), artha (wealth), kama (sensual pleasures) and moksha (liberation). Public and domestic sacrificial rituals are prescribed for various castes of Hindus. These rituals are either daily (nitya) or occasional (naimittaka), as prescribed in the Grihya Sutras and Srauta Sutras. The daily rituals are performed by an individual during different times in a day, in which offerings are made to the gods, the elements, one's ancestors, animals and the humans. The occasional rituals are performed by an ordained priest according the procedures established in the scriptures. In addition, there are several rites of passage or sacraments (samskaras), performed during different periods of a person's life, starting from his conception till his death. Not all Hindus however practice these rituals and sacraments. Many follow the devotional path and offer prayer and worship to their personal deities, either by visiting a temple or in their own houses.
Hinduism acknowledges the diversity and inequality which characterizes creation. Although all beings possess the same souls, they are all not alike. The gunas play an important role in influencing their thinking and actions and inducing in them different desires, likes and dislikes and attitudes. They are also subject to ignorance, egoism and delusions. Because of these inherent differences, you cannot make them all worship the same God, think alike or act alike. Therefore, Hinduism believes that people should be given a choice to choose their own paths to worship gods or strive for liberation. Because of the diversity in creation, the paths to God are many and each lead to him only. Some circuitous, and one may caution people about them, but the final choice should be left to them only. Hinduism therefore believes people should not be confused or disturbed with the knowledge which they cannot understand and for which they are not prepared, oneâs own Dharma is better than that of another, however superior it may be.