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The Abrahamic faiths are belief systems that worship the same God. The four major ones are Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Baha'i Faith. It is estimated that 54% of the world's population follows one of the faiths. The faiths are named after Abraham, known as the "friend of God" (2 Chronicles 20:7, Isaiah 41:8, James 2:23).

Judaism

Star of David
Judaism is the oldest Abrahamic faith, and is the roots to Christianity and Islam. Judaism is a promise between God and man, that involves man worshipping and sacrificing to God and not bowing down to idols, and in return, God will give them strength to win their battles. Jewish people are the descendants of Abraham, who was promised by God that he would have a land filled with his descendants (Genesis 12:2), and are the Chosen People of God. Abraham's son, Isaac, had a son named Jacob, who was later renamed 'Israel' by God. Israel had several children, and the Bible gives names to twelve of his sons, who later had the Twelve Tribes of Israel named after them, which are:
  • Reuben
  • Simeon
  • Levi
  • Judah
  • Dan
  • Naphtali
  • Gad
  • Asher
  • Issachar
  • Zebulun
  • Joseph
  • Benjamin

He also had some daughters, but only one is named in the Bible, which is Dinah.

Moses is a very important figure in Judaism. He was born into the tribe of Levi, along with his brother and sister Aaron and Miriam. God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, which are:

  • I am the LORD your God, and you will have no other gods before Me (Exodus 20:2-3)
  • You will not worship any idols (Exodus 20:4-6)
  • You will not take the Name of the LORD your God in vain (Exodus 20:7)
  • Keep the Sabbath holy (Exodus 20:8-11)
  • Honor your father and mother (Exodus 20:12)
  • You will not kill (Exodus 20:13)
  • You will not commit adultery (Exodus 20:14)
  • You will not steal (Exodus 20:15)
  • You will not lie (Exodus 20:16)
  • You will not covet your neighbour's goods (Exodus 20:17)

There are different types of Jewish people:

  • Orthodox Jews, who follow the original rules very strictly
  • Conservative Jews, who are not as strict
  • Reform Jews, who are the least traditional

Some Jewish celebrations are:

  • Passover, which celebrates the Israelites departing from Egypt
  • Rosh Hashanah, or the Jewish New Year, which celebrates the day the world was created
  • Yom Kippur, a day for penance for sins committed the year before
  • Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights, which is also known as 'Jewish Christmas', as it coincides with Christmas

The Torah is an important book for Jewish people, and it contains the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, and it is believed to be written by Moses.

Christianity

The Cross
Christianity is the world's largest belief system, with about 2.2 billion followers. Christians follow Jesus Christ, and believe that he is the Messiah and the Son of God. Christianity was originally a sect of Judaism, and both faiths are very similar until it comes to the New Testament. Christians believe Jesus Christ died for the sins of mankind. The Twelve Apostles, also called Disciples, are:
  • Peter
  • Andrew
  • James (Zebedee's son)
  • John
  • Phillip
  • Bartholomew
  • Thomas
  • Matthew
  • James
  • Judas
  • Simon
  • Judas Iscariot

Christians believe that three days after his death, Jesus rose from the dead and is now seated at the Right Hand of the Father and will come again to judge the ungodly. Christianity has many sects including Catholicism, Protestantism, Orthodox, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons and Unification Church. Many Christian celebrations have become celebrated by unbelievers, including Christmas, Easter and All Hallow's Eve (Halloween). Others include:

  • Advent
  • Lent
  • Pentecost
  • Harvest Festival
  • Epiphany
  • Ascension Day
  • All Soul's Day
  • Saint Patrick's Day
  • Trinity Sunday
  • Ash Wednesday
  • Saint Joseph's Day
  • Saint Andrew's Day
  • Feast of the Assumption

The Seven Sacraments are followed by Catholics and Orthodox Christians, which are:

  • Baptism
  • Communion
  • Marriage
  • Holy Orders
  • Confirmation
  • Penance
  • Anointing of the sick

Islam

Islamic Symbol
Islam is the second largest faith, with over a billion followers. Muslims call God 'Allah', and believe they are the descendants of Ishmael, the first son of Abraham. The word 'Islam' means to surrender in peace, in this case to the Will of God. They believe that a merchant named Muhammad bin Abdullah was meditating in a cave near Mecca. The angel Gabriel, the same who came to Mary, came to him and told him to memorise passages that later became the Qua'ran, the holy book of Muslims, which is believed to have revealed the true message of Allah. The Qua'ran also has some stories from the Bible as well. The two main sects of Islam are Shia and Sunni. Shia Muslims believe that Muhammad's son-in-law, Ali ibn Abi Talib is his successor and the first imam, a worship leader. Sunnites believe that Muhammad died without a successor. The Five Pillars are:
  • Shahadah: Allah is the only God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God
  • Salah: Saying the five daily prayers
  • Zakat: Muslims must give part of the money they are paid to a charity
  • Ramadan: You must fast from sunrise to sunset in the month of Ramadan
  • Hajj: Muslims must visit Mecca in the month of Dhul Hijjah at least one time in their lifetime

The six articles of belief[1]:

  • There is only one God
  • There are angels of God
  • The books of God
  • The messengers of God
  • The afterlife
  • Destiny

The sacred texts of Islam are:

  • Hadith: a collection of Muhammad's sayings
  • Sira: Muhammad's biography
  • Fiqh: Islamic lawmaker's legal views
  • Sharia: Islamic laws for religious and daily life

The months of Islam are[2]:

  • Muharram
  • Safar
  • Rabi-Al-Awwal
  • Rabi-Al-Thani
  • Jumada-Al-Awwal
  • Jumada-Al-Thani
  • Rajab
  • Shaban
  • Ramadan
  • Shawwal
  • Zul-Qaadah
  • Zul-Hijjah

Through the month of Ramadan, the month which the Qua'ran was revealed to Muhammad, Muslims eat or drink nothing from sunrise until sunset. At the end of the day, they say a prayer and eat a light meal. They wake early in the morning before sunrise to have breakfast. At the end of the month of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate Eid Ul-Fitr, and wear new clothes and have a special service at a mosque. Sometimes children will receive gifts or money, and people usually send cards to relatives. Eid Ul-Adha is a month in which Muslims remember Muhammad's sacrifice of his son to Allah. An animal sacrifice is made, usually a sheep or sometimes a cow or camel, and the meat is shared with their neighbours, family and poor people. The animal must be fit for sacrifice. Eid Ul-Adha lasts for four days. Muharram is a festival which is very important to Shia Muslims, when they remember the death of Husayn bin Ali, Muhammad's grandson. They beat their chests in sorrow, and watch enactments of his death and listen to poems about him.

Baha'i Faith

Baha'i Star
Baha'i Faith is a fast growing religion, and teaches that mankind is one and should not be divided. The Twelve Social Principles are:
  • One God
  • One religion
  • Men and women are equal
  • Prejudice must be eliminated
  • World peace tended to by a world body
  • Religion and science have harmony
  • Education is compulsory
  • Obey the government, and don't get involved in politics
  • Personally investigate the truth by yourself
  • There's a need for a universal auxiliary language
  • Extreme wealth and poverty must be eliminated, and there is a spiritual solution to economic situations

The religion was started by Siyyid Mírzá Ali-Muhammad in 1844. He claimed he was prophet of God that some Muslims were waiting for. He attracted followers, and earned the title Bab. He was executed in 1850 by a firing squad. Mírzá Husayan-Ali, who followed the Bab declared that he was the messenger of God that the Bab talked about, and starting using the title Baha'u'llah, which means Glory of God. Baha'is have seven Houses of Worship around the world, which all have nine sides and on the top is a dome. The first House of Worship was built in Ashkhabad, Turkmenistan, in 1908, which no longer stands. In 1953, a House of Worship was built in Wilmette, Illinois, USA, and is the oldest House of Worship which still stands. Other Houses of Worship include:

  • Kampala, Uganda
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Langenhain, Germany
  • Panama City, Panama
  • Tiapapata, Western Samoa
  • New Delhi, India

Baha'i holy days include:

  • Naw-Ruz, New Year (March 21)
  • Nineteen Day Feast (The first nineteen days of a Baha'i month)
  • Declaration of the Bab (May 22-23)
  • Ascension of Baha'u'llah (May 29)
  • Martyrdom of the Bab (July 9)
  • Birth of the Bab (October 20)
  • Birth of the Baha'u'llah (November 12)

Nine of the eleven holy days are major, and are celebrated by prayer services, and people do not work. The Ridvan Festival is the most celebrated, which celebrates Baha'u'llah announcing that he was the prophet the Bab promised, in the garden of Ridvan. This is celebrated between April 21 to May 2, and the first, ninth, and twelfth days are very important days. They celebrate the arrival of Baha'u'llah at Ridvan, the arrival of his family, and the departure of his family. Baha'is do not have any special worship leaders, like nuns or priests. They have three rituals:

  • Daily prayers
  • Simple marriage ceremony
  • Prayer for the dead, that is recited for a funeral

The reason for such simple rituals is because Baha'is believe that if they had big rituals, all spiritual meaning would be lost.

Other Abrahamic Faiths

Some minor Abrahamic faiths are:

  • Samaritans, a faith related to Judaism
  • Benei Sión, who claim to have the same aspirations as the Jewish people
  • Noahidism, a group based on the Seven Laws of Noah
  • Abrahamites, the only thing they accepted were the Ten Commandments and the Lord's Prayer, and refused to be classed as either Jew or Christian. They were all executed
  • Yârsânism, who believe there are internal and external worlds. This faith is based off the teachings of Sultan Sahak, and is mostly found in Western Iran and Iraq. The holy book is Kalâm-e Saranjâm. The adherents are called Yârsân, Ahl-e Haqq, and in Iraq, Kaka'i
  • Sabians, a group of people mentioned in Qua'ran
  • Unification Church, a faith very similar to Christianity
  • Universal Zulu Nation, a modern day hip-hop movement that believes in God
  • Druze, a faith that is sometimes seen as a sect of Islam. They believe God is existence, not above existence
  • Providence, a faith that is similar to Christianity and mainly focuses on Jesus' second coming and to prepare for it you must live a life of faith and have a physically active body. It is active in South Korea, where it was formed

General Sources

Holy Bible

Bible Gateway

Religions of the World: A Visual Reference Guide to the World's Major Religions, published by Robert Frederick Ltd. in 2006

Category: Abrahamic religions (Wikipedia) List of Abrahamic religions

References

Sources and External Links 

Samaritans (Wikipedia)  Other Abrahamic Faiths: Samaritans

Benei Sión (Wikipedia)  Other Abrahamic Faiths: Benei Sión

Noahidism (Wikipedia)  Other Abrahamic Faiths: Noahidism

Abrahamites (Wikipedia)  Other Abrahamic Faiths: Abrahamites

Yârsânism (Wikipedia)  Other Abrahamic Faiths: Yârsânism

Sabians (Wikipedia)  Other Abrahamic Faiths: Sabians

Universal Zulu Nation (Wikipedia)  Other Abrahamic Faiths: Universal Zulu Nation

Druze (Wikipedia)  Other Abrahamic Faiths: Druze

Providence (religious movemant, Wikipedia)  Other Abrahamic Faiths: Providence