Islam and Buddhism are two distinct religious traditions that provide their own
meaningful responses to the fundamental questions about life. Their views on
issues relating to the possibility of a Supreme Being, the purpose of life and
their understanding of the cycle of life and death are all quite distinct from
each other, but at the same time, having minor similarities. These can be seen
in the following comparative study between the teachings of these two world
Is there a Supreme Being? What is the nature of the divine? All
Muslims profess the existence of the One and Only God, God Almighty who is also
referred to as ‘Allah’. They firmly believe that Allah is the most high and
honored, the creator and the sustainer of all that exists and he has no physical
connections between any thing he has created whether it be the creatures or
human beings on this earth. He has no beginning and no end. Allah has no
physical dimensions like hunger, sleep or rest for he is the one who gives such
attributes to his creatures.
Buddhism on the other hand, recognises no creator
god who initially brought the universe into existence and continues to control
it in the way that Allah controls everything that is or happens in the universe
from the smallest to the greatest events. The founder of Buddhism, who is known
as Buddha, did not want to be worshipped as a god. He taught that people would
be happier if they took responsibility for their own thoughts and actions. His
teachings were simply a guide for living.
Muslims can some what relate to this
in the way they are taught to be responsible for their own actions and sins. The
two religions are also similar in the way they both believe in the concept of
god/s existing in the afterlife. Muslims firmly believe in the existence of
Allah in heaven while Buddhists consider the possibility of gods existing in the
heavens that their karma has created. What is the purpose of life? Islam teaches
that God created human beings and endowed them with immortal souls.
individual possesses the quality of uniqueness and the duty of each person is to
work out his or her own destiny and each is responsible for his or her own
action. Buddhists would say that rather than being created by a Supreme Being,
humans actually got themselves born due to karma made in past lives. This was
made with a particular father and mother with whom we have karmic connections.
Islam also teaches that the task of a human being is to make a sincere effort
and strive to do his/her best.
Islam discourages its followers to sit in
resignation. However, whatever results from effort is to come from God’s
decision and should be accepted with patience. At the same time, giving thanks
and praise to God is also part of the central purpose in life. In contrast to
Buddhism teachings, Buddha did not want to be worshipped as a god, but instead,
taught people that the central idea of life was to reach as sense of
incomprehensible peace in their minds.
In Islam, life is essentially preparation
for the Day of Judgement when Allah will call all people to hear an account of
how they have lived. This will determine their destiny after life. On the other
hand, Buddhists believe that humans are on this earth because of the evil things
that they have committed in past lives and the main purpose of life is to reach
the state of enlightenment. To escape the cycle of rebirth is to enter the
supreme reality of Nirvana where there is freedom and bliss.
To attain nirvana
is simply to be out of existence. The way in which Buddhists are taught to go
about this is to devote their life to compassion, charity, and non-violence and
to clear their mind of all content and learn to drift away from the
consciousness of this world. How do we understand the cycle of life and death?
Is there life after death? In Islam, life on earth is considered to be a minute
part of the totality of existence. The life in the hereafter is of eternal
Every individual is accountable for his performance in the worldly
life and is answerable in front of God on the Day of Judgement. On this day, God
will raise every one from the dead and he will allow those who have lived a good
life to enter the paradise of heaven and those who have done evil will be
punished by suffering in the torment of hell. People will be judged not only on
their deeds but also on their faith. Believers may have their sins forgiven or
undergo a period of punishment and will go to heaven, but disbeliveers will go
They had their chance to turn to Allah and now it is too late. Only
when they have complete submission to God may they be salvaged. In contrast to
Buddhist teachings’, our future lives may or may not be in a human form but
while we are on this earth we may continue to be reborn due to the evil things
that we have committed in our past lives. Buddhists consider rebirth as another
chance to work toward realisation, while Allah considers life to be the only
chance of proving your worthiness to God so that you may enter Heaven.
in which both religions encourage people to go about reaching Supreme Reality
(whether it be reaching Heaven or Nirvana), are also different to each other. In
Buddhism, the only way to escape the cycle of rebirth is by following the
“Noble Eight-fold Path”, a strict ethical system and by committing
ourselves to meditation so that we are no longer conscious of this world. As
stated before, Muslims are worthy of entering Heaven if they have completely
submitted to God and if they have performed good deeds, while Buddhists mainly
focus on the importance of attaining peace in one’s mind so they can reach
Nirvana. An average Muslim believes that God gives life and death and that death
may come at any time, thus, every one should try to send on ahead for good deeds
that will earn the pleasure of God.
With this perception, a Muslim has to live a
virtuous life all the time. Buddhists also believe in living a virtuous life all
the time, but rather than it being for the purpose of pleasing a god, it is
mainly for reaching enlightenment. Conclusion In summary, the two world
religions share both similar and distinguishing beliefs on their various
teachings of life and the existence of Supreme Beings. Their major differences
are mainly that Buddhism ignores the issue of a Supreme Being, while Muslims
consider Allah as the One and Only God who created this earth.
teaches that humans can be reincarnated when they die, while in Muslims believe
that after death, there is a life of eternal duration. Although their main
similarities are minor, the two religions can relate to the existence of a
supreme reality after life on earth, with Buddhists believing in Nirvana and
Muslims believing in Heaven. The religions also believe in committing good deeds
in order to enter these supreme realities.