BUDDHISM AND ISLAM
By Bashir Habeeb Adeshola
I begin to write this treatise with the Basmala. All praise be to Allah, and may the best of prayers be upon His beloved prophet, Muhammad (peace be upon him), upon his Alh al-bait, and all his companions.
This piece is written to black out all incredulous beliefs about Buddhism seeming to be right. When it comes to some of the major religions in the world, a lot of people are skeptical, or even fearful of something that they do not know a lot about. Hence the need to unearth some unspecified common misconceptions regarding Islam and Buddhism.
First, let’s take a look at what Islam, as a religion, is all about. It’s based on the Qur’an (and Hadith), and the literal meaning of the word “Islam” is ‘submission to God’. A Muslim, therefore, is someone who submits willingly and unwillingly himself to Allah “God”. Islam as a religion is built on five pillars which are found and or explained in the Quran, this is what Islamic law revolves around. On the contrary, Buddhism doesn’t have a single book, their orthodox central scripture is a vast collection of different writings and commentaries on the words of Buddha. This collection of texts, the Pali Canon, is also known as Three Baskets. Different variations on Buddhism have their own supporting texts which make them very different to each other,
Here the nature of Buddhism should be understood before going any further. The Buddhist do not believe in one God, or multiple Gods. According to Buddhism, all Gods are illusory
Buddhism was founded by a man whose name is Gautama buddha, who was born in lumbini, to a couple whose name were Suddhodana and Maya Devi. Thus, Gautama Buddha is a revered figure in Buddhism, and that is the reason, the religion is named after him. Of equal relevance to this, is Christianity and Christ just like Buddhism and Buddha. This simplistically point out the facticity that, all religions name after a man is a religion formed, fashioned and shaped by humans from their own thoughts.
The teaching founded by the Buddha is known, in English, as Buddhism. According to its adherents, a Buddha is one who has attained Bodhi; and by Bodhi is meant wisdom, wherefore, wisdom is something attainable. This runs incompatible to human logic and the Islamic belief.
The term Buddha literally means enlightened one, a knower. Whence, according to its adherents, Buddha is the “enlightened one”. This call for the question, who is the one darkened one?
Where Islam is based on the words of Allah (The Quran) and the tradition of the prophet, Buddhism is based on the words of the Buddha, or Siddharta Gautama. More than being a religion, Buddhism is a philosophy which encompasses a multifarious of norms, traditions and practices.
Where Muslims have the Five Pillars of Islam, Buddhists believe in the two major branches of Buddhism, which include the Theravada, or ‘The School of the Elders’, and Mahayana.
On the surface, it appears that Buddhism is a mystical Religion which denies any form of embodiment, and so transcends monotheism to go from one God to an ultimate, ineffable, transcendent source.
Next, let’s take a look at the distinct differences between Islam and Buddhism. As mentioned beforehand. In practice, there is a distinction between Mahayana and Theravadan Buddhism. Theravadan is the older form, and it stresses asceticism and the monastery system. This relegate Buddhism to a self conflicting religion whilst Islam is far perfect. Allah says
This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion. But whoever is forced by severe hunger with no inclination to sin – then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.
Buddhism do not believe in One or multiple Gods, while Muslims believe in Allah.
ٱللَّهُ لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَۖ لَهُ ٱلْأَسْمَآءُ ٱلْحُسْنَىٰ
Allah – there is no deity except Him. To Him belong the best names.
Buddhism does not focus too much on good and evil ‘“ while Islam considers Allah to be the creator of the universe, as well as being the source of all that is good and evil, this is consider as a test from Allah.
ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَ ٱلْمَوْتَ وَٱلْحَيَوٰةَ لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ أَيُّكُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلًاۚ وَهُوَ ٱلْعَزِيزُ ٱلْغَفُورُ
[He] who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed – and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving –
Finally, karma is something that Buddhists believe in when you talk about eternal life ‘“ while Islam preaches the belief in eternal life and the last day.
وَمِنَ ٱلنَّاسِ مَن يَقُولُ ءَامَنَّا بِٱللَّهِ وَبِٱلْيَوْمِ ٱلْءَاخِرِ وَمَا هُم بِمُؤْمِنِينَ
And of the people are some who say, “We believe in Allah and the Last Day,” but they are not believers.
Veraciously, one would extrapolate that, Buddhism is far from being God chosen religion, it seem more like a philosophy than a religion. All man made religions leads to Hell, may Allah guide us.
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