On the surface, some may assume that Christianity, Judaism and Islam couldn’t be more different. After all, their houses of worship are different, their holidays are different and their names for God are different. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth!
Christianity, Judaism and Islam are referred to as the “Abrahamic” religions because they are all rooted in a common ancestor – the biblical Abraham. Widely referred to as the first monotheist in history, Abraham was promised a long, multi-generational legacy if he did as God instructed. From that promise is the birth of the world’s three major monotheistic religions.
Abraham plays a different role in each religion: in Judaism, he is the founding father of the covenant between God and the Israelites; in Christianity, he is seen as the ideal God-fearing individual; in Islam, he is an important link in the chain of prophets from Adam to Muhammad. His role may vary from practice to practice, but his importance in these three religions is still at the very core.
Just like Abraham, peace is also at the core of the three Abrahamic faiths. It’s so central, in fact, that even the traditional greetings are rooted in peace — “peace be upon you” in English, “shalom aleichem” in Hebrew, “salaam aleikum” in Arabic. Often, this lesson gets lost when the news cycle catches acts of violence and extremism instead of the beautiful, daily efforts men and women of faith make to build a better world.
Each Abrahamic faith has its own approach to the concept. In Christianity, Jesus is used as an example of nonviolence to follow. In Judaism, adherents are taught to “love peace and pursue peace,” and the concept is repeated several times over in other important works of the faith such as Ethics of the Fathers. The very name “Islam” is rooted in peace, a combination of words which roughly translate to “submission to Allah (God),” “safety” and “peace.”
In truth, peace weaves in and out of every aspect of the Abrahamic faiths, and many spend the entire lives studying and expanding its definitions within these religious tenets. Adherents, congregations and entire communities interpret the instruction to love peace and live a life of peace in their own ways, from taking anti-war positions to feeding the hungry to volunteering their time to simply praying for a safe, peaceful world for their families and loved ones.
Many interpret peace as the need for interfaith coexistence. In communities throughout the world, you’ll find the Abrahamic faiths partnering together on initiatives which make the world a better place. They band together to feed the needy, clothe those experiencing homelessness, raise money for those in need.
At the Islands of Peace, we are inspired by the many interfaith initiatives which take place around the globe. We pursue peace by supporting initiatives which bolster education, support economies, protect the environment and preserve wildlife. Our projects center on the importance of ongoing religious and academic education, a growing economy, and initiatives to preserve the environment as keys to ensuring peace. We strongly believe that by providing a platform for those of Abrahamic faiths to pursue mutual, beneficial good, we can bring Abraham’s descendants together as brothers and sisters, members of a beautiful, loving and peace-pursuing extended family.