The Middle East and their religions. By: Kyle Lillwitz

The three major religions of the Middle East are Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. But before getting into differences, let's talk about some similarities between the three. First, all three started out in the Middle East and had spread from there. Second, all three have a holy book that they found their beliefs upon, that will be explained in a later area. And finally, all three have a symbol to show their religions, Judaism is the Star of David, Christianity is the Holy Cross, and Islam is the Crescent Star.

The Star of David, a holy symbol to the Jewish people.

Judaism is the oldest of the three religions, and really founded the other two. Judaism follows the book of the Torah, which is called The Old Testament to Christians. Judaism was founded from the Twelve tribes, who were ruled by the 12 sons of Jacob, later to be called Israel, who was the son of Issac, who was the son of Abraham. Jewish people are only to eat kosher foods, which means fit, proper, or correct. The Jewish holy day is Saturday. The Jewish holiday is Hanukkah, a lesser Jewish festival, lasting eight days from the 25th day of Kislev (in December) and commemorating the re-dedication of the Temple in 165 BC by the Maccabees after its desecration by the Syrians. A the candles are lit day by day. A Jewish man is inducted into adulthood in a celebration called a bar mitzvah.

The Holy Cross, the symbol of Christianity.

Christianity was a religion that sprouted out from Judaism in 7 B.C. from the followers of Jesus Christ, of Nazareth. The holy text for the Christian people is the bible, consisting of two parts, the Old Testament, which describes the start of the world, in Genesis, and the prediction of the coming of a savior, in Malachi, and the New Testament, starting with the birth of the promised savior, Jesus Christ, in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and ends with the promising of a new world coming, in Revelations. The Christian holy day is Sunday. Christian celebrations consist of: Christmas, which is the celebration of Jesus Christ being born, Easter, which is the celebration of Jesus Christ rising out of the grave after three days in hell and dying on the cross, and rising into heaven.

The Crescent Star, the Holy Symbol of Islam.

Finally, the religion of Islam was the last to be discovered, being founded in 570. The Islamic people believe in Muhammad as god. The holy text for the Islamic religion is the Qur'an. The Islamic community follow the 5 pillars of faith, which consist of: Shahadah: sincerely reciting the Muslim profession of faith. Salat: Praying five times a day, Zakat: Giving to charity (also known as the Giving of Alms in Islamic tradition), Sawm: Fasting during the daylight hours in the month of Ramadan, and Hajj: A pilgrimage to Mecca (if affordable). The religion of Islam is broken down into 5 different communities, which are Sunnis, Shiis, Ismailis, Alevis/Alawites. and Druze. The Islamic holiday is Ramadan.

Sources:

Jewish Facts: www.jewfaq.org

Christian Facts:www.patheos.com/Library/Christianity

Islamic Facts: www.patheos.com/Libraty/Islam

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