Eight Aspects of Hinduism and Islam, in conjunction with Christianity and how each compare to one another with rules, responsibilities and way of life.
8 Aspects of Religion
By Gianni Galioto
This report will outline each of the 8 aspects and how they are brought it through Hinduism and Islam. The origin of both religions will also be included to give a guide on how it was brought up in the public. The two religions share different aspects but are very similar in build.
In the body of this report it will state the 8 aspects of religion and how each aspect is used in Hinduism and also Islam and the origin will also be stated. It is important to note the belief in each religion as each religion has its own creation belief and different belief in God/s.
There is no factual evidence of when Hinduism actually began but there are documents that show evidence of Hinduism that date back to 2000 BC to people known as the Indus or Harappa civilization. The Indus civilization lived near the Indus River and through archaeological excavations many stories of the Gods and Godesses of Hinduism have been passed down over thousands of years making Hinduism an old religion
Experience: Sai Baba of Shirdi was an ordinary man who the Hindus believed was called by God to do special work on Earth. He is referred to as an indian guru and is believed to be a reincarnation of the God Krishna. According to most Hindus he is the most generous and most knowledgeable of the gurus. Little is known about his life but it is know that he devoted his like to Hinduism and had no interest in material possession but instead taught others about forgiveness, helping others, charity, inner peace and devotion to God. Sai Baba passed away and was buried in a Hindu temple in Shirdi. Many people still pray to Sai Baba and ask for wishes to keep their family safe. When they feel asif their wishes have been granted, they travel to his grave no matter the weather condition.
Beliefs: Hindus believe in millions of Gods so it is often referred to as a polytheistic religion, however there is a powerful belief among Hindus that there is One Ultimate reality called Brahman. Brahman is believed to be the life force of the universe and therefore all the Gods represent various aspects of Brahman. Just like Christianity, Hinduism has their own Hindu Trinity which refers to the Gods Brahman, Vishnu and Shiva who are the creator, preserver and destroyer of the universe. Hindus believe that there are 10 different avatars of Vishnu with each playing a variety of roles but the two most important ones are Krishna, a hero usually seen as a warrior or king, and Rama, a courageous hero who fights evil.
Symbols: The symbols of Hinduism have a very important meaning. The practice of puja includes symbolic acts, such as offering the gods food and light etc., to induce a mood to welcome toe presence of the God’s descent to Earth. Having emblems, images and idols of Gods displayed around the house is seen as good fortune so it is very popular amongst the Hinduism religion. Icons are displayed so worshipers are able to develop a relationship with the Gods. The most important symbol of Hinduism is Om, also written Aum, because it is associated with the beginning sound of the creation of the universe. It symbolizes the ultimate powerful Brahman and the universe and also an awareness of one’s spiritual identity. Another main symbol of Hinduism is the lotus which symbolizes how one should live in the world in order to gain release from rebirth, without attachment to ones surroundings.
Rituals: A very important ritual for Hindus is daily worship, known as puja, and is the most frequently performed ritual of Hinduism. This ritual is either practiced in a Hindu temple or in their homes and is used to bring prosperity and good health. If the puja is performed well with sincerity, it is believed that the god will stay in the temple or home. Many hindus keep a shrine in their homes positioned in the corner of a room, on a shelf or on the floor. The home shrines are usually dedicated to a certain God and will have water for purifying the area, a bell, an oil lamp, an incense burner, a plate of fruits and freshly cooked foods and a bowl of fresh flowers.
A Book: The Vedas are the oldest and are believed to be the first texts of Hinduism. There are four vedas, the Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda. The vedas contain hymns and rituals from ancient india. They also provide historical views of daily life in Ancient india. Another book highly admired by Hinduism is the Upanishads which were writing 800-400 B.C. The scriptures in the Upanishads talk about the concepts of a beings soul and teaching that through meditation and achieving universal balance.
Rules or Laws: Hindus follow many rules or Codes of behavior. An important term in Hinduism is dharma, meaning moral duty or law. Hindus abide their laws to achieve balance in the universe. Hindus follow rules or guides to maintain moral behavior by their belief in kharma. Hindus believe that their next existence after death will be determined by kharma so they try to do what is right for their family, community, caste system and the universe. The 10 rules of dharma include Patience, Forgiveness, Piety or self-control, Honesty, Holiness, Control of senses, Reasoning, Learning or knowledge, truthfulness and Absence of anger.
Stories: Just like Christianity, Hinduism has their own story of creation. One creation story of Hinduism asks questions which cannot be answered. Only Brahman, the Hindu God, knows the answer of true creation according to Hindus. Sacred Texts of Hinduism from the Upanishads includes a Doctrine of Kharma which describes the effects of a persons’ actions. A key hindu sacred text is the Bhagavad Gita which offers philosophical discussion between the God Krishna and the Warrior Arjuna. There are many Hindu stories that talk about the life and necessity of their Gods.
Social Structure: Ancient India developed a social structure where people were divided into Castes and Untouchables, the two main communities. The castes category was made up of the Brahmin who were the Priests, Kshatyria who were the warriors, Viasya who were Merchants and Landowners and Sudra who were peasants and servants. This caste system is called Varna and is a basic caste. The Untouchables or Outcasts were made up of Street sweepers and latrine/toilet cleaners. There are about 160 million Hindus in the Untouchables category, all of which perform the most impure of jobs. Hindus do not marry into a class that is not their own because it is believed that if they do so, the Hindu society will function well.
Islam began in Arabia in the Middle East which is now known to us as Saudi Arabia. This is the place the Prophet Muhammad was born, raised, lived and died. The Prophet Muhammad had spread the word of the Islamic religion and taught people of the religion. He was a man of solitude who would go on hikes on his own to hear the God’s words. He would listen to the God and then spread his word to his followers. The religion of Islam then widely spread around parts of Arabia, North-Africa, Spain and Portugal. To this day, Islam has been around for about 1,400 years. The population of Muslims take up nearly one fifth of the world’s population and live in nearly every country in the world.
Experience: The pilgrimage to Makkah is one of the important elements of Islamic Faith. A Muslims main experience of Islam is the pilgrimage to Makkah and is taken very seriously because it is one of the Five Pillars of islam and Makkah is a very sacred place. The journey is known to change the hearts and minds of the travellers and on this journey Muslims experience a strengthening of the relationship with their family.
Beliefs: Muslims belief is often summarized in Six Articles of Faith. To be a Muslim you must believe in: one God (Allah), the Angels of Allah, the books of Allah, the prophets of Allah, the day of Judgment and the supremacy of Allah’s will and constant reciting of the Shahada (There is no God but God and Muhammad is his prophet to become a Muslim).
Symbols: There are no official Islamic symbols but there are many images that represent the religion of Islam as a whole. The Islam God, Allah, cannot be represented in any way so instead words inscribed in Arabic are written to describe the God.
Rituals: The main ritual of Judaism is Fasting or Sawm. Every year in the Month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to sundown. Unless they are sick, pregnant or nursing, all Muslims are unable to eat food or drink anything during this time. The reason for the ritual is so they are able to purify themselves.
A Book: The two main books/texts in Islam are the Qur’an and the Hadith. The Qur’an is made up of 114 chapters and deals with a variety of subjects. A main emphasis of the Qur’an is who Muslims have one God and how he gives guidance for behavior. The book also explains beliefs about the creation of the world and humanity and provides explanations for evil and good. It also contains rules regarding worship, marriage and behavior in the life of the community.
Rules or Laws: The rules of Islamic faith include: Faith in One God (Allah), Faith in all holy books, Faith in all Holy prophets, Faith in day or Judgment and Faith in destiny. Main rules of Islamic religion are fasting during Ramadan where you cannot eat or drink during sunrise to sunset, pilgrimage at least once during your life and the most important is praying. Pray must be done at least 5 times per day. Muslims have the freedom to pray at home or in a Mosque but every Friday, all men must pray in a Mosque and all men and women are to be separated when praying excluding families.
Stories: The stories of Islam are written in the books Qur’an and the Hadith. A main sacred text of the Qur’an is Allah’s literal words that were revealed to Muhammad the Prophet. The Hadith doesn’t really have stories but more records of sayings and teachings of Muhammad to his followers but it does tell stories about the lives of him and his followers.
Social Structure: With Islam, there are no central authorities, clerics or priesthood, but they do have religious scholars called Imams. Imams exercise spiritual leadership in prayer and preaching and their main duty is to lead the community in prayer. Other than the Imams, there is no set organizational structure but is more an individual’s responsibility to maintain their relationship with Allah.
It was shown that both religions have different beliefs and bring out each 8 aspect in different ways but both religions follow the same basis on worshipping a God of their own and very similar rituals in worshipping of the God. Both religions pray to their Gods and show signs of respect. The followers of the religion try and build a stronger relationship with their God and with their family.