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Love and Relationships In Islam and Christianity

Ramadan. They have to fast from sunrise to sunset everyday for the

month. After the month there are Eid celebrations

Ÿ Hajj (Pilgrimage) – All Muslims have to try to visit the Holy city

of Mecca and the Ka’bah at least once in their lifetime during the

holy month of Hajj. If they visit Mecca at any time apart from that

month, it is called Umrah and they still have to perform Hajj.

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Background Information – Christianity

Christianity

The Christian religion was founded in C.E. 0 by Jesus. Christian

believe that Jesus is the son of God and that he was born to the

Virgin Mary. Jesus was crucified by the Romans after being betrayed by

one of his followers – Judas. Christians believe that after Jesus

‘died,’ Jesus returned to our earth. The Christian Holy Book is called

The Bible. The Bible is divided into two halves – The Old Testament

and The New testament. In the Old Testament, there are stories of

prophets such as Noah, Isaac, David and others, along with tales of

how the earth was created , whereas in the New Testament are tales of

the life of Jesus and his teachings.

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There are many Christian Denominations such as Protestant,Roman

Catholic and others. Denominations are people of the same fundamental

belief of Christianity, but slightly differing views on things such as

Divorce (which will be covered later in this book) and other

teachings.

Glossary (in order of appearance)

Islam – A religion founded by Muhammed (pbuh)

Pbuh – Peace Be Upon Him

Muhammed – Founder of Islam

Muslim – A follower of Islam

Shahdah – One of the five pillars of Islam – Belief

Namaz – One of the five pillars of Islam – Prayer

Fajr – Morning Prayer (Islam)

Ruhr – Midday Prayer (Islam)

Asr – Afternoon Prayer (Islam)

Magrib – Evening Prayer (Islam)

Esha – Night Prayer (Islam)

Zakah – One of the five pillars of Islam -Charity

Saum – One of the five pillars of Islam – Fasting

Ramadan – Holy Month of Fasting (Islam)

Eid – Celebration after Ramadan (Islam)

Hajj – One of the five pillars of Islam – Pilgrimage

Mecca – Holy City where Muslims go to pilgrimage.

Ka’bah – Holy Monument in Mecca (Islam)

Umrah – Pilgrimage that is not in Holy Month (Islam)

Christianity – religion founded by Jesus

Jesus – founder of Christianity

Virgin Mary – Mother of Jesus (Christianity)

Romans – Empire based in Italy

Judas – Follower and Betrayer of Jesus (Christianity)

The Bible – Christian Holy Book

The Old Testament – First Half of Bible (Christianity)

The New Testament- Second Half of Bible (Christianity)

Noah – Prophet (also known as Nuh in Islam)

Isaac – Prophet (also known as Isaaka in Islam)

David – Prophet (Christianity)

Denominations – Types of a religion

Protestant – Denomination of Christianity

Roman Catholic – Denomination of Christianity

Divorce – When two married partners decide to separate and no longer

be married.

Married – The name given to people who has gone through the ceremony

of marriage.

Bride – Name given to a woman during the Marriage Ceremony

Bride Groom / Groom – Name given a man during the Marriage Ceremony.

Spouse – A married partner

Mormons – Followers of a religion based on / a denomination of

Christianity.

Monogamy – When someone has more then one spouse.

Church – Christian place of worship

Priest – A man who works in a Church (Christianity)

Altar – Section of Church where the priest / vicar stands

(Christianity)

Vicar – (see Priest) (Christianity)

Congregation – Audience

Hymn – Holy song (Christianity)

Celibate – To live without sex

Monk – Holy Man (Christianity)

Nun – Holy Woman (Christianity)

Halal – Not Sinful (Islam)

Haraam – Sinful – (Islam)

Q’uran – Muslim Holy Book

Imam – Muslim Priest

Mehndi – Ceremony before wedding (Islam)

Henna – Fake tattoos

Laylat Al Henna – Ceremony before wedding, only in the UAE (Islam)

Walib – Party after marriage (Islam)

Mahr – Gift from man to wife on the day of the wedding (Islam)

Allah – God (Islam)

Adam – First man

Eve – First woman

What is marriage?

When two people love each other, they decide to get married. When two

people marry each other, it is a symbol of their love for each other

and a statement to everyone else. By being married, the bride and the

bridegroom mutually agree t love each other, and only each other for

the rest of their lives. They can then live together and have children

together as a married couple.

If one of the spouses cheats on the other, it is called adultery and

is a major sin in most religions – except Mormons, who believe in

monogamy – and can result to the break up of the marriage, i.e.

divorce. When two people divorce each other, it is a way for them to

no longer be married to one another and can allow them to see and

marry other people.

Different religions have many different traditions and customs during

the marriage ceremony and all of which can mean different things, from

the bride wearing white wedding dress, to gifts given to the bride by

the husband to be.

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In the following pages, I will be analysing customs and traditions

from both religions and interpreting what they mean and comparing the

traditions of both religions to each other.

Christian Marriage Traditions

Traditional Christian marriages usually take place in a church and the

two people ho want to marry each other are married by a priest. This

is how a traditional marriage takes place.

The groom waits at the altar while the bride is taken up the altar by

her father or a father-like figure. Once the groom and bride are both

at the altar, they, as well as the congregation, stand before the

vicar. The vicar will then give an introduction to the marriage. The

congregation sit down and readings may / are read. The vicar will then

give a speech about the significance of marriage in the eyes of God.

Then, the vicar will ask the congregation – “But first I am required

to ask anyone present if there is a reason why these persons may not

lawfully marry, do declare it now, or forever hold your peace.” If no

one objects to the marriage, the vows are then read. During the vows,

the bridegroom and the bride place rings on each others finger. After

the vows the vicar pronounces the couple husband and wife, and says

that they are married in the eyes of the church. The bride and groom

then kiss. The vicar leads the congregation in saying the Lord’s

Prayer. The service ends with a celebratory hymn, after which the

bride and bridegroom proceed down the alter together as husband and

wife, where they sign the register.

What does it all mean?

Ÿ White Wedding Dress – Although the wedding dress does not have to be

white, it usually is because it is traditional. The colour white

stands for purity and cleanliness. The fact that it stands for purity

can also mean virginity but most couples getting married nowadays

usually aren’t virgins.

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Ÿ Walk Up The Aisle – The Bride walks up the aisle on her fathers arm,

the father then, at the end of the aisle gives the bride to the groom.

This act symbolizes the fact that the responsibility of the bride,

financially, emotionally and well-being of her, is being handed from

the father to the new dominant male figure in her life – her husband.

Ÿ Vows – Once the wedding is booked, the vicar will ask the bride and

groom about the type of marriage ceremony they want., including the

music, and the vows that can be said. There are 3 main types of vows,

‘ The 1662 Solemnization Of Matrimony,’ from the book of common

prayer, ‘ The 1966 Solemnization Of Matrimony’, from Alternative

Services, series 1, ‘ The 1977 Marriage Service,’ from Alternative

Services , series 3 – later included in the Alternative Services Book

in 1980. The two most common being ‘ The 1662 Solemnization Of

Matrimony,’ and The 1977 Marriage Service.’

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Ÿ The Rings- The rings that the bride and the brides groom give each

other symbolize their eternal and on-going love for each other that

will never end, like the ring, which will always go in the circle,

without an ending.

Ÿ The Kiss- The Kiss seals the marriage and makes it official, final.

It is also an expression of their love for each other.

Ÿ The Register – Two witnesses must be present at the signing of the

register, traditionally the best man and chief bridesmaid.

Ÿ The Honeymoon – This is not actually part of the wedding ceremony

but it traditionally occurs after it. The newlyweds are taken on a

holiday where they can be alone together and reflect on the wedding

and the future, among other things.

Muslim Marriage Traditions

A marriage in Islam involves a simple marriage contract which is just

the giving of a gift to a wife and the signing of a contract with

repeating of Quran’ic verses before an Imam. But traditionally, other

customs and traditions, which are not compulsory, are performed.

The gift that the groom gives to the wife has to be of value, whether

money-wise or of sentimental value. These gifts include such things as

jewellery, money, or even as Christian tradition, a ring. This giving

of a gift symbolizes the love and security the groom will offer to the

bride after the wedding.

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The second part of the marriage ceremony involves the consent of both

parties in the vows which are taken from the Q’uran, which absolve the

spiritual and physical aspects of marriage in Islam. All points of the

agreement are considered everlasting, although the religion agrees

that there may be certain unforeseeable circumstances that may occur

involving the breakdown of the marriage. Although this will be

discussed later in this report.

What does it all mean?

Ÿ The Mehndi – The Mehndi is the event where Henna on the bride and

groom’s hands. Marked by traditional songs and dances, it sometimes

extends to two days – one day at the house of the groom to put henna

on his hand and the second day at the bride’s house to put henna on

her hand. This event usually takes place in Pakistan and India, there

is a variation in UAE and Egypt.

Ÿ Laylat Al Henna – This is a ceremony similar to the Mehndi, but only

takes place in the UAE. Laylat Al Henna (literally, the night of the

henna), which takes place a few days before, is very special night for

the bride, since it is a ladies’ night only. On this night, the

bride’s hands and feet are decorated with henna. The back-to-back

feasts and celebrations involve both men and women who usually

celebrate separately.

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Ÿ The Shadi / Walib – This is the section after the actual signing of

the papers to declare the couple as married partners, the celebration,

guests eat many lavish dishes that are served. This party like

ceremony usually has many guests and is usually set up by the family

of the bride.

Ÿ The Gift- The gift given to the bride by the groom, resembles his

guidance and support that he is offering her. It is a statement from

him saying that he will respect and look after her.

The Role of Men and Women In Marriage

Islam

In Islam, the role of the men and women are very different.. Contrary

to popular belief about Islam, men and women have equal rights and

opportunities, but the cultures and traditions of Asian countries

restricts the life of women. In this section, I will look at the roles

of men and women in the eyes of the Q’uran, not the way of traditional

Pakistani and Indian ways.

The role of the Husband includes 3 main points. Maintenance is the

first one. This implies that the male figure in an Islamic marriage

has to maintain his wife emotionally, financially and socially. The

husband has to help with the food and cleaning up, if he doesn’t he

can hire a maid to clean up for him and his wife. “The best Muslim is

one who is the best husband” is a quote from the prophet Muhammed

(pbuh)

The second role is Mahr, This is the gift from the husband to the wife

on the wedding day. A marriage cannot be valid without one. The third

thing the husband has to do is be equal to his wife. A husband is

commanded by the law of Allah to treat his wife with equity, respect

her feelings and show kindness and consideration. The prophet stresses

kindness and equality to women.

Women also have roles. One of the main duties of a wife is to

contribute to the success of the marriage and keep the well-being of

her husband. She must do as he wishes if his wishes are of order and

not demeaning and humiliating. She must try to bear him children and

keep the house the family well and healthy.

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Celibacy and Chastity in Islam

In Islam, all people are required to marry and to not stay celibate

for their whole lives, whereas in Christianity, monks and nuns are

required to stay celibate. Islam considers marriage as one of the most

virtuous and important and approved institutions. Muhammed (pbuh)

declared “There is no monasticism in Islam” as well as stating ” O you

young men! Whoever is able to marry, should marry, for that will help

him to lower his gaze and guard his modesty” The prophet also stated

that “There is no celibacy in Islam”. In Islam, marriage is viewed as

a religious duty and consequently a moral safeguard.

In Islam, sex is only viewed as Halal and legitimate if it is within a

marriage. It is counted as sinful, or Haraam, if it occurs out of

marriage. Islam tries to control sexual urges so that it only occurs

in marriage. Men and Women in Islam, have to stay chaste until they

marry, otherwise it is a sin.

Celibacy and Chastity in Christianity

In Christianity, celibacy does not effect the general Christian

population and there aren’t many rules regarding the issues, apart

from if you are a monk or a nun. Monks and Nuns. Normal Christians can

remain celibate if they wish, but they don’t have to.

If a man or a woman is not chaste, they cannot enter the life of a nun

or a monk. If they would still like to become a monk or none, then

they will have to go through a cleansing ceremony, after which they

have to remain celibate, after this, and only after this, can that

person become a nun or monk. Generally, in the Bible, it is a sin to

have intercourse before marriage. The Bible states that marriage is “…a

remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication; that such persons as

have not the gift of continency might marry.”

Divorce in Islam

In Islam, there are certain rules regarding divorce that must be

followed. Although divorce is frowned upon in Islam, it can still be

done and it is used as a last resort if the couple can find no other

way to solve their problems.

Men and women are allowed to terminate the Islamic marriage contract.

The man can end the contract freely if he wishes to do so, but he must

have a valid reason, but the woman in the marriage has to ask

permission for the divorce. If the man should refuse to allow the

woman to divorce, the woman can go to court, where the reasons are

assessed and if found in the favour of the wife, the marriage is then

terminated. Because men most of the time refuse to allow their wives

to divorce them and going to court is a hassle and takes up money,

effort and time, it is now standard practice in most Islamic countries

for the wife to include a clause in the marriage contract which allows

her to terminate the contract and have the same rights as the man in

the divorce proceeding. In Islam, the right to divorce a woman without

her permission is the only right that a man has that is greater then

women.

In such circumstances, the party that is leaving or commanding the

divorce, usually the male, must make sure that the party they are

leaving, must be financially secure. If the person they are leaving is

not secure financially, or has no home, the initiating party must

compensate for the party that is not financially secure. These

compensations may include the mahr, (the gift given to the wife on the

day of the marriage) being returned to the husband, or an alimony

being paid to the wife, but anything can really be given to

compensate.

Divorce in Christianity

Divorce in Christianity is very varied depending on the denomination,

but I will be mainly focusing on Roman Catholic views. Generally,

divorce is frowned upon – “When they were in the house again, the

disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered ‘Anyone who divorces his

wife and marries another woman is committing adultery against her. And

if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits

adultery” Mark 10:10-12.This quote shows us the general idea presented

in the Bible towards divorce.

The Roman Catholic church does not allow divorce but allows annulment,

this is when there is a declaration that the marriage was never really

true in the first place and can only be done if one partner was forced

into marriage, one partner suffered mental problems at the time of the

marriage, one partner did not intend t keep the marriage vows, one of

the partners was not baptised at the time of marriage. There is

usually a Marriage Tribunal to decide if a marriage is annulled or

not.

Some Christians believe that Jesus allowed divorce in Mathew 19:9 “Jesus

replied ‘Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts

were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that

anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and

marries another woman commits adultery.” They believe that in this

passage, Jesus allows divorce only when marital unfaithfulness is

involved

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Contraception in Islam

In Islam, sexual intercourse is not just a way to fulfil emotional and

physical needs, but is a way of pro-creation. Children are the way

that humans can contribute to Allah’s will and creation.

Muslims believe that the birth of a child is a gift and is usually

welcomed into the family. That is why contraception is frowned upon.

” He bestows (children) male or female according to His Will (and

Plan), or He bestows both males and females, and He leaves barren whom

He will. For He is full of knowledge and power.” Surah 42:49-50. This

proves that contraception is frowned upon.

Like always in Islam though, there are certain times when

contraception should be allowed these circumstances are when –

Ÿ There is threat to the mother’s health.

Ÿ If there is a chance of a child being born with a disease or

unhealthy and handicapped.

Ÿ If there is not enough money to raise the child

Muslims generally prefer to use the ‘rhythm’ method of contraception,

where sexual intercourse occurs only at the time of the month that she

is known to be less fertile.

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Contraception in Christianity

The Roman Catholic church teaches its followers that artificial means

of contraception is wrong, these artificial means include condoms and

the pill and only natural means are acceptable, such as the ‘rhythm’

method, where sexual intercourse only takes place at the time of the

month that the woman is least fertile.

The Roman Catholic Church teaches us that the main reason that sex was

created was not for our pleasure, but as a means of pro-creation and

way for children to be brought into the world. Thus, using artificial

means of contraception goes against God’s plans and thus it is wrong

and should not be done.

Other Christian churches such as the Church of England and the

Methodist Church disagree with the Roman Catholic Church and say that

artificial contraception is a good way to allow people to be free to

choose when and how many children they would like to have. They also

say that it is the responsible way for teenagers and young adults to

keep in control of their lives and follow their chosen career paths

and not have their lives ruined by a single fling. It is a way to make

sure that every child brought into this world is cared for and loved

by it’s parents, as well as being wanted by them.

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The Role of Men and Women In Marriage

Christianity

Christians have a variety of different views on the duties and roles

that men and women play in the average Christian household. The

believe that although they are equal in the eyes of God, they were

created for different purposes. In the book of Genesis, it tells us

about the creation of men and women. ” The LORD God said, “It is not

good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him”

This phrase of the Bible suggests that man needed a companion in life,

someone to help him, thus God created Eve, the first woman to go

alongside Adam, the first man.

Some Christians say that the statement above proves that God created

women as helpers for men. They believe that the needs of the men

should come first and that women are there to help them. Also with

Adam and Eve, Eve was the first to sin, suggesting that she was weaker

in a sense of temptation. There is a similar view in 1 Peter 3:1,7

“Wives…be submissive to your husbands. Husbands, in the same way be

considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them and respect

them as the weaker partner”

Christians argue that the teachings suggest that women must stay home

and care for the family and husband. Whereas others believe that these

views are out dated and aren’t appropriate for the modern society,

believing that women and men were both created equally in “the image

of God”. They can also prove this by stating in the Bible, “There is

neither… male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Because of these two different views, the normal Christian household

is varied, some of which have the man working and the woman as a

housewife, others with both having the same roles and duties as each

other.

Conclusion

Altogether, Islam and Christianity have many differences and

similarities between them.

Similarities

Ÿ Both religions go against sex before marriage

Ÿ Both religions disapprove of contraception

Ÿ Both religions take vows on the marriage day

Ÿ The groom gives a ring or something of value to the bride on the

wedding day

Ÿ Both religions disapprove of divorce.

Differences

Ÿ Islam states that women and men have equal rights

Ÿ Christianity states that women are the ‘weaker’ sex.

Ÿ Islam states that divorce can be done in certain cases

Ÿ Christianity states the only way a man and wife can separate is

through annulment

Ÿ Christianity states that some people should be celibate, i.e. monks

and nuns

Ÿ Islam states that no one should stay celibate

Ÿ Islam states that men have more right to divorce then women.

As you can see there are many similarities, but even more differences.

These differences are mainly to do with celibacy, divorce issues, and

equal rights.

I hope I have covered the majority of the facts needed for this report

and hope you’ve enjoyed reading it.

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