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As a Jewish child living in America in the 1970s, I had heard from my teacher that there was another religion called Islam that also believed in one God just as we did. So my natural question was what is the difference between Islam and Judaism? I never got a good answer to the question, perhaps because I didn’t know any Muslims.

As an adult, it is clear to me that there are many differences in customs and laws between Jews and Muslims, but the beliefs about God are exactly the same - that God is One, perfect unity, omnipresent, and omnipotent.

I found the following link https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/1012030/jewish/The-Contrast-Between-Isaac-and-Ishmael.htm from Chabad website.

From this, I have the following hypothesis - Judaism is a super-rational monotheistic religion, while Islam is a rational monotheistic religion. And this the core difference between the two religions.

My question is is my hypothesis correct?

Addendum to question:

By request, I will expand on what I mean by rational and super rational:

If one looks at some of the things that religious Jews do, for instance wearing phylacteries, affixing parchment scrolls to doorposts, males wearing strings on four cornered garments, not wearing wool and linen together, not turning on lights or driving on the Sabbath, one is at a loss for the reasons for these actions. And these are not just customs but are fundamental duties commanded by God to the Israelites in the Torah. Because these actions seem to not have a rational basis, I call Judaism super rational.

However, according to my superficial understanding of Islam, I never get the impression that it super rational, but that it is very rational. For instance, it is easy to give logical explanations for all five pillars of Islam - prayer is logical if one believes in God, charity is logical if one seeks the welfare of his community, pilgrimage to Mecca is logical since this is where things started for Islam, proclaiming one’s faith is logical since it establishes clarity in one’s beliefs, fasting is logical since it helps a person come closer to God.

This is why I ask my question to determine if my hypothesis is correct about the core difference between Judaism and Islam.

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    what is difference between super-rational and rational ?
    – Shafeek
    Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 13:21
  • Super-rational deals with things that the mind cannot understand, while rational deals with things that the mind can understand. For instance, Judaism deals with lots of miracles in the Bible. Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 13:26
  • I suggest adding those definitions to your question.
    – صالح
    Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 20:41
  • I just added the definitions to my question, as requested. Commented Nov 19, 2023 at 0:08

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Thanks for your question.

What I understand is Jews believe in Moses and prophets before him and what was reveiled to Moses, that is torah. But when they transgressed and didn't follow the follow properly, God send different prophets to correct them but they do not want to correct themselves and said

"They say, "Our hearts are the wrappings (which preserve Allah's Word: we need no more)." Nay, Allah's curse is on them for their blasphemy: Little is it they believe." Quran 2:88

So they don't believe any prophets after Moses and they don't believe any revelations after him, so God has no way to correct them, unless they open up their hearts and start believe in prophets and revelations after Moses.

Muslims also believe in many of the miracles ascribed to Moses in the bible, which are confirmed by Quran. So I think Islam is also super rational monotheism.

update: You are saying that the rituals you find in judaism is not rational and they do it just because it is in Torah, where as you find the rituals in Islam to be rational. So that is reason you claim Judaism to be super-rational.

I respect your observation but as a Muslim we don't try to rationalize what our prophet(s.a) taught us, we just follow whatever we are taught, weather it is rational or not. This is because we understand that what God has taught us through Quran and through his prophet(s.a)'s sayings, it is good for being a true Muslim(submitter to will of God).

The reason Judaism is super-rational may be because it is not meant for the current period. For example, in previous ages, it was not advised not to work during Sabath day but currently we are advised not to work only when the prayer call is done on Sabath day(Friday is our sabath day) and we are free to work after the prayer is finished.

If you want more clarification, let me know in comments.

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  • Is it possible that even though Muslims believe in the miracles in the Bible as you said, the Muslim way is to adopt a more rational approach to God than Judaism, which is super rational? And this approach would be the correction that you described? Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 15:26
  • I just saw that you expanded your answer. I now understand that Muslims do what they are taught from the Quran whether it makes sense or not, just as Jews do with the Torah. Are there any things that are taught in the Quran that do not make sense to the rational mind? Commented Nov 20, 2023 at 2:13
  • For example, cycles (rakath) of prayer in each prayer. In morning prayer it is 2, noon 4, late afternoon 4, evening 3 and night 4 cycles. We don't know the reason for this, we just follow it.
    – Shafeek
    Commented Nov 20, 2023 at 2:22
  • That would disprove my hypothesis then. So Islam is also super rational. Thank you. Commented Nov 20, 2023 at 4:02
  • Are there any other examples? Commented Nov 20, 2023 at 4:14

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