Islam and Mormonism

Mormonism and Islam have been compared to one another ever since the earliest origins of the former in the nineteenth century, often by detractors of one religion or the other—or both.[1] For instance, Joseph Smith, the founding prophet of Mormonism, was referred to as "the modern Mahomet" by the New York Herald,[2] shortly after his murder in June 1844. This epithet repeated a comparison that had been made from Smith's earliest career,[3] one that was not intended at the time to be complimentary. Comparison of the Mormon and Muslim prophets still occurs today, sometimes for derogatory or polemical reasons[4] but also for more scholarly and neutral purposes.[5] While Mormonism and Islam certainly have many similarities, there are also significant, fundamental differences between the two religions. MormonMuslim relations have historically been cordial;[6] recent years have seen increasing dialogue between adherents of the two faiths, and cooperation in charitable endeavors, especially in the Middle and Far East.[7]

This article compares the teachings of Islam to those of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), which is the largest Latter Day Saint church today.[8] Other smaller denominations of the Latter Day Saint movement, such as the Community of Christ and the Church of Christ (Temple Lot), hold significantly different doctrines than those taught by the LDS Church. However, important differences remain between Islamic teaching and the doctrines of these other churches, even where they differ with those of the LDS Church.[9]


Islam and Mormonism both originate in the Abrahamic traditions; each differs from mainstream Christianity in being non-Trinitarian. However, where Islam insists upon the complete oneness and uniqueness of God (Allah), Mormonism asserts that the Godhead is made up of three distinct "personages", each of which is referred to as "a god".[10] Furthermore, its doctrine of Eternal Progression asserts that God was once a man,[11] and that humans may become gods themselves.[12] All of this is emphatically rejected by Islam, which views these teachings as polytheistic, and contrary to the doctrines of the Qur'an and Islam's prophet, Muhammad.

Both Islam and Mormonism believe that the Christian religion as originally established by Jesus was a true religion, but that Christianity subsequently became deformed to the point that it was beyond simple reformation. Hence, each religion sees its founder (Muhammad for Islam, and Joseph Smith for Mormonism) as being a true prophet of God, called to re-establish the true faith. However, each religion differs in regard to how it views Jesus: Mormonism sees him as the promised Messiah and the Son of God (as is the case around Christianity). Islam agrees that Jesus (whom the Qur'an calls "Isa") was a Messiah in his own right, but insists that he was only a mortal man, not the Son of God or a divine being. Despite great opposition from many other Christian branches, Mormonism identifies itself as a Christian religion, the "restoration" of primitive Christianity. Islam does not refer to itself as "Christian"; it asserts that Jesus and all true followers of Christ's teachings were (and are) actually Muslims – a term that means "submitters to God" – in their belief, not Christians as that term is used today.[13]

Similarities between Muslims and Mormons

Thomas S. Monson, the current Prophet of the LDS Church (as of 2015). Islam believes Muhammad was the last prophet, while Mormonism believes in a line of prophets extending from Joseph Smith to the present day.

Basic similarities between the Islamic and Mormon faiths include, but are not limited to:

Differences between Muslims and Mormons

Fundamental differences between Islam and Mormonism include, but are not limited to:

Similar origins

Compendium of the LDS Standard Works: the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price. Unlike Islamic views of the Qur'an, the LDS Church regards approved versions of these works in any language to be just as authentic as the originals.
The Qur'an, in traditional Arabic text. For many Muslims, only the Arabic version is considered truly authentic; versions in other languages are considered commentaries on the Arabic original, not exact translations.[25]


Similarities exist between the origins of Islam and those of Mormonism:


Islam holds that the Qur’an was revealed to Muhammad by the archangel Jibrīl (Gabriel) over a period of approximately 23 years, beginning in 610 CE when he was forty years old, and concluding in 632 CE, the year of his death.[26][27][28] He first began receiving the 114 revelations that would comprise its contents while secluded for meditation and prayer in the Cave of Hira in the mountains outside of Mecca, in what is now Saudi Arabia. According to Islamic tradition, the illiterate Muhammad was confronted there by Jibrīl, who commanded him to "recite".[29] Although deeply distressed by this event, Muhammad was comforted by his wife Khadijah and her Christian cousin, Waraqah ibn Nawfal, who encouraged him to accept the angel's visit. Following a three-year period without any further visits from Jibrīl (during which Muhammad continued to pray and devote himself to spiritual practices), the angel returned once more, and the other 113 Surahs of the Qur'an were revealed over the next 23 years, which were memorized by their hearers. Muhammad himself did not collect the Qur'an into a single, written volume; this was largely done after his death.[30]

Mormon sacred texts

Mormons believe that when Joseph Smith, Jr. was seventeen years of age, an angel of God named Moroni appeared to him[31] and told him of a collection of ancient writings engraved on golden plates by ancient prophets, buried in a nearby hill in Ontario County, New York. These writings became the Book of Mormon, and were said to have described a people whom God had led from Jerusalem to the Western Hemisphere 600 years before Jesus’ birth. According to the narrative, Moroni was the last prophet among these people and had buried the record, which God had promised to bring forth in the latter days. Smith stated that he was instructed by Moroni to meet him at the hill annually each September 22 to receive further instructions; four years after the initial visit, in 1827, he was allowed to take the plates and was directed to translate them into English.[31][32]

In addition to the Book of Mormon, Mormons believe the Doctrine and Covenants to be a series of modern-day revelation from God. These were written by Joseph Smith over a 21-year period (1823–44), from ages 17 to 38. The first 134 sections were written by Joseph Smith, while the last three sections and two official declarations were added to the Doctrine and Covenants by Smith's successors. The revelations include instruction on church procedures and organization, admonitions to Smith and other church members, interpretation of scripture such as the Book of Revelation and records of visions such as that of Jesus Christ in the Kirtland Temple.

Latter Day Saints also accept the Pearl of Great Price, which contains selections from Joseph Smith's "New Translation" of the Bible, which he claimed were corrections to the King James Version received by direct inspiration from God. It also contains the Book of Abraham, an alleged translation by Smith of an ancient Egyptian papyrus, together with the Mormon "Articles of Faith" and an extract from Smith's official history.

Despite the similarities between the alleged origins of the Qur'an and Latter Day Saint sacred texts, neither Islam nor Mormonism accepts the scriptures of the other as canonical.

Mormons and Muslims


Perhaps the greatest single area of difference between Mormons and Muslims lies in their religions' differing concepts of God. In Islam, Allah (the Arabic term for God) is seen as being absolutely and indivisibly one; this concept is called Tawhid, and does not admit the possibility of division in the Godhead either in personality, essence or otherwise.[33] It holds that God is one (wāḥid) and unique (ahad).[34] The very term "Allah" itself is singular, and does not have a plural form in Arabic (unlike English, where "God" can be pluralized into "gods"). Allah is perceived by Muslims to be a unique, independent and indivisible being, who is utterly independent of and who precedes all of creation, having created all of it ex nihilo.[35] Hence, the idea that there could be more than one God, or that God could be composed of distinct persons (however united these "persons" might be alleged to be in substance – as is held in the mainstream Trinitarian theology of Christianity – or in purpose alone, as alleged by the Mormons in opposition to the Christian doctrine), is all heresy of the worst possible kind for a Muslim. In fact, such ideas are referred to as Shirk, which is the most serious sin in Islamic law, and the only one designated by the Qur'an as being utterly unpardonable for the person who dies in it.[36]

In stark contrast, Mormonism believes in a Godhead composed of three separate and distinct beings, who function as a single, unified God under the direction of the Father, who is held to be the senior member of this triad.[37] Although the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants clearly identify the Father, Son and Holy Ghost as being "one God",[38] this unity is seen as a metaphorical "oneness" in spirit, purpose and glory, rather than a physical or bodily union. The Mormon Book of Abraham, in its account of creation (one that generally parallels the one in the Biblical Book of Genesis), speaks of "the Gods", rather than "God", as accomplishing the act of creation.[39]

Mormon Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland elaborated upon this concept during the General Conference of the LDS Church in 2007:

We believe these three divine persons constituting a single Godhead are united in purpose, in manner, in testimony, in mission. We believe Them to be filled with the same godly sense of mercy and love, justice and grace, patience, forgiveness, and redemption. I think it is accurate to say we believe They are one in every significant and eternal aspect imaginable except believing Them to be three persons combined in one substance, a Trinitarian notion never set forth in the scriptures because it is not true....

We declare it is self-evident from the scriptures that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are separate persons, three divine beings, noting such unequivocal illustrations as the Savior’s great Intercessory Prayer [John 17], His baptism at the hands of John, the experience on the Mount of Transfiguration, and the martyrdom of Stephen—to name just four.[40]

Latter-day Saints also believe, in marked contrast to Islam, that God the Father and Jesus Christ each have physical bodies of flesh and bone,[41] and that the Father was once a man, who progressed to become what he is today.[42] Furthermore, they believe that man is capable, by embracing and adhering completely to the Mormon religion, of evolving into a "god" himself in the next life,[43] the LDS equivalent of theosis. In addition, the existence of a being colloquially known as "Heavenly Mother" is affirmed by the LDS Church,[44] though prayer to her or speaking of her as being part of the Mormon Godhead are not encouraged.[45][46] Islam rejects all of these concepts.

Whereas Muslims believe that Allah is absolutely above and separate from all of his creation, having created all of it from nothing,[47] Mormonism considers both matter and intelligence to be co-eternal with him, and beyond even his power to create or destroy; rather, God (according to Mormonism) merely "organizes" the elements into planets, stars, living beings, and so forth.[48] Islam considers this concept to be a deification of creation, which it sees as another form of Shirk.[49]

Family relations

In Islam, several hadith stress the importance of keeping family relations alive and recommend that the distant relatives ought to be visited, even if took a year to travel to them. Brothers and sisters at home should help their mother when she becomes unable to support her children alone, while at the same time they should be equally benevolent to each other. Muhammad insisted that the most important person in one's life (after Allah) is one's mother, saying: "Paradise lies underneath the feet of mothers".[50]

In Islam, all Muslims are considered brothers and sisters in the faith,[51] and are often addressed by the titles "brother" and "sister". The same holds true in Mormonism.[52]

Mormons also stress the importance of family relations. They designate Sunday as their Sabbath, a day of rest from worldly concerns and endeavors, to concentrate on spiritual matters (including communal worship) and family activities. They also designate Monday evenings as "Family Home Evening", an evening where all Mormons are encouraged to devote themselves exclusively to family togetherness and joint activities – temporal, as well as spiritual.[53] Though Islam does not have a designated Sabbath (Friday, while the designated day for corporate worship, is otherwise mostly an ordinary work day for Muslims),[54] it does encourage family togetherness.

Mormonism teaches that families can be together throughout eternity, through the rite of eternal marriage and sealing ordinances as performed in Mormon temples. If a Mormon in good standing receives these rites and continues faithful to his or her religion until death, he or she is guaranteed to be reunited in the next life with all other family members who have done the same. Islam declares that all of those who remain faithful to Islam and achieve Jannah (Heaven, or "Paradise" as it is often called) will be reunited with their families there, or at least so many of them as have remained equally faithful to their religion and achieved the same reward.[55]


Islamic theology recognizes as many as 124,000 prophets.[56] The Qur'an identifies 25 prophets by name, starting with Adam and ending with Muhammad.[57]

Five of these are considered particularly important in Islam:

  1. Nuh (Noah)
  2. Ibrahim (Abraham)
  3. Musa (Moses)
  4. Isa (Jesus)
  5. Muhammad

Of these five, four are equally revered in Mormonism, with two uniquely Mormon scriptures, the Book of Abraham and the Book of Moses attributed to two of them. Of the 25 prophets named in the Quran, only Adam, Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Lot, Joseph, Job, Moses, Aaron, David, Solomon, Elijah, Elisha, Jonah, Zechariah, John and Jesus are recognized by Mormonism. Aaron also lends his name to one of the two "priesthoods" of Mormonism: the Aaronic priesthood. The other Quranic prophets (Hud, Salih, Shuayb, Dhul-Kifl and Mohammed) are not recognized by Mormons, although Shuayb and Dhul-Kifl are sometimes identified with Jethro and Ezekiel. Hud is sometimes identified with Eber of the Bible.[58]

Muhammad and Joseph Smith

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints considers Muhammad to have received a portion of God's light, and that moral truths were given to him to enlighten nations and to bring a higher level of understanding to individuals.[59] However, it does not consider him to have been a prophet in the same sense as modern-day LDS prophets nor ancient prophets found in the Bible and Book of Mormon, and does not accept the Qur'an as scripture. Conversely, Islam does not accept Joseph Smith as a prophet, for it believes Muhammad to have been the final prophet of God to humankind.[60] It equally does not accept the Book of Mormon, or any of the other Latter-day Saint Standard Works, as the Qur'an is believed to be God's final revelation for all time, and for all people.


In Islam, Jesus is considered to be a human Prophet of God who was sent to guide the Children of Israel with a new scripture, the Injīl, or Gospel.[61] The Qur'an states that Jesus was born to Mary (Arabic: Maryam) as the result of a virginal conception, a miraculous event which occurred by the decree of God. To aid him in his ministry, Jesus was given the ability to perform miracles, all by the permission of God rather than his own power. According to the Qur'an and other Islamic texts, Jesus was neither killed nor crucified,[62] but Muslims disagree as to the precise interpretation of these texts; many believe he was raised up alive to Jannah by God. Some Islamic traditions narrate that Jesus will return to Earth near the Day of judgment to restore justice and defeat al-Masīḥ ad-Dajjāl (lit. "the false messiah", also known as the Antichrist).[63][64] Like all prophets in Islam, Jesus is considered to have been a Muslim, as he preached for people to adopt the straight path in submission to God's will. Islam rejects that Jesus was God incarnate or the Son of God, stating that he was an ordinary man who, like other prophets, had been divinely chosen to spread God's message.[65]

According to Mormon doctrine, Jesus Christ is the eldest Son of God the Father. Latter-day Saints identify Jesus with the Old Testament Jehovah per his declaration, "I AM that I AM." Because of Christ's suffering, death, and resurrection, all mankind is saved from death, and will rise again and receive a perfected physical body. Furthermore, the Atonement satisfies the demands of justice; grace, forgiveness, and mercy (i.e. salvation) are extended to all who accept Christ as their Savior, receive the saving ordinances that he commanded, and become his life-long disciples.[66]

Islam does not believe in the necessity for any vicarious atonement for sin, as they believe God forgave Adam and Eve their sin in Paradise directly, without transmitting the guilt of that sin to any of their posterity; they believe that God furthermore forgives each individual directly without the need for a mediator or savior.[67] Mormonism has a different perception of the Christian concept of original sin, and believes individual sin requires an atonement, or infinite, redeeming sacrifice, which had to be accomplished by Jesus Christ after the individual has sought repentance.[68]

Salvation and the afterlife


Mormonism and Islam each believe in a life after death: belief in the Last Judgment and an Afterlife is one of the Six Articles of Belief of Islam; it also forms an essential element of the Mormon belief system. Islamic and Mormon concepts of the next world share some common characteristics, which include:

Islam teaches that the purpose of man's creation is essentially to be kind to other human beings and to worship the Creator of the Heavens and Earth: Allah. It furthermore teaches that life lived on this Earth is a test for man to determine each individual's ultimate reward or punishment in the afterlife, which is eternal.[69] These concepts are also held by Mormonism, which views human earthly existence as a trial, designed to see who will prove faithful to God's commands, and thus be worthy to inherit the highest possible exaltation (which Mormons equate to "godhood", something Islam vehemently opposes). Those who prove less faithful will inherit a lesser reward, but will still be compensated for the good they did.[70]

Islamic views

In Islam, salvation refers to one's entrance to Jannah, or heaven. This word does not encompass the alternate possibility of Jahannam, or hell, nor to the multiple degrees Islam believes to exist in each location. The Qur'an teaches that the only sin which guarantees damnation for any human being is that of Shirk, or associating other beings or entities with the one, true God: Allah (meaning those who die in such a state; those who repent and embrace Islam during their earthly lives are forgiven this sin).[71] Hence:

Ultimately, says Islam, all true Muslims will inherit Paradise, even those who are initially confined to hell. However, with multiple levels in Jannah, not every Muslim will inherit the same degree. Furthermore, avoiding hell (described in the Qur'an as a place of terrible pain and suffering) requires more than belief: it requires repentance from sin and adherence to God's laws. However, Islam emphasizes that good deeds alone do not gain one admission to heaven; ultimately, Allah's mercy alone is what forgives sin and enables man to attain anything good in the next life.[75] The varying degrees of reward (and of punishment) are a manifestation of God's justice: the level of goodness (or evil) one sows in this life, will be reaped accordingly in the next. Mormonism, for its part, believes almost precisely the same with regard to the role of God's mercy, grace and justice in judgment and salvation.[76]

Mormon views

The Mormon concept of the afterlife comprises three "Degrees of Glory", together with a state of existence called "Outer Darkness", which is not considered a "kingdom of glory". Entry into one of these kingdoms is determined by God, based upon one's deeds, beliefs and receipt of a series of ordinances mandated by the Mormon religion. For those who did not have a chance to hear about Mormonism or receive its rites during their earthly life, the LDS Church Temples provide a means for their salvation through proxies who receive the ordinances on their behalf. The three kingdoms are:

In addition to this, there is a fourth destination, which Mormons specifically reject as being a kingdom or having any glory, referred to as Outer Darkness. This is the abode of those who are sent there after the Last Judgment, where they will dwell in a place of great torment, "the end thereof, neither the place thereof, nor their torment, no man knows; Neither was it revealed, neither is, neither will be revealed unto man, except to them who are made partakers thereof."[79] This group will comprise Satan and his angels, together with those who have become "sons of perdition" by committing the unpardonable sin, which is to deny Christ after receiving a witness of him through the Holy Ghost.


Charitable giving forms an important part of Islamic and Mormon teaching. One of the Five Pillars of Islam is the payment of Zakat, a mandatory contribution of 2.5% of one's excess wealth, after legitimate needs and expenses (including taxes) have been paid. The poorest Muslims (those below a certain minimum level of wealth) are excused from this payment, as are those who have experienced a net loss in the year's income compared to the previous year's. This money is distributed to extremely poor and needy Muslims, indebted and traveling Muslims, those who seek to propagate the religion, and also to free captives.[80] Muslims are also enjoined to give above and beyond this 2.5%, in what is referred to as Sadaqah, or charity, according to their means. Islam emphasizes the obligatory nature of Zakat, and states that no one who refuses to give who is able will be accepted by God.[81]

Mormonism equally emphasizes charitable giving, starting with a tithe of 10% of one's gross income, generally before taxes or expenses are paid. This tithe is mandatory of all who wish to obtain a temple recommend, a requirement to enter LDS temples (as opposed to regular Mormon meetinghouses where anyone can attend weekly worship services).[82] This money goes to finance the day-to-day operations and activities of the LDS Church. In addition to this, a Fast Sunday is observed once per month, where a special Fast offering is collected to be given to the poor and needy amongst the Mormon people. The amount given during this special offering is generally expected to equal or exceed the amount one would have spent on the two meals which one is asked to forego on that day.[83]

U.S. Navy sailors from the HSV-2 Swift move more than 100 tons of humanitarian aid to the pier at Beirut, Lebanon during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, to be disbursed to Lebanese citizens in coordination with the International Islamic Relief Organization.

Mormons and Muslims have recently cooperated in charitable work. In May 2006, the LDS Church donated $1.6 million USD worth of emergency supplies to devastated areas following the earthquake in Java, Indonesia, teaming up with Islamic Relief Worldwide who provided transportation in conjunction with The Islamic Medical Association of North America.[84] That same year, Muslim and Mormon organizations cooperated again in the distribution of humanitarian aid to Lebanese citizens, during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict.

Polygamy and celestial marriage

In Islam, polygyny is allowed, and is practiced in some countries in the Middle East, although under certain restrictions. The single passage in the Qur'an dealing directly with the topic of polygyny is in Surah 4 Verse 3:

And if you fear that you cannot act equitably towards orphans, then marry such women as seem good to you, two and three and four; but if you fear that you will not do justice (between them), then (marry) only one or what your right hands possess; this is more proper, that you may not deviate from the right course.

The practice of polygamy continues among some Muslims worldwide, including a tiny share (less than 1%)[85] of American Muslims.[86] Most American Muslim leaders openly discourage this practice, however, as being contrary to United States law.[85]

Early in its history, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints practiced polygamy in the United States and referred to it as "plural marriage". It was publicly announced by the church in 1852, and the plural marriage ceremony (as conducted by an authorized priesthood leader) was viewed as a sacred, eternal ordinance. Only a small percentage of church members, including leaders, ever practiced polygamy. The practice was formally introduced by Joseph Smith in the LDS Doctrine and Covenants 132, as being from "the Lord thy God ...the Alpha and Omega".[87] These developments quickly led to the enacting of anti-polygamy laws, with the U.S. Congress making polygamy illegal in U.S. territories in 1862. Although Latter-day Saints contended that their religiously based practice of plural marriage was protected by the United States Constitution, the Supreme Court of the United States determined otherwise, leading to the formal ending of the practice in 1890, reinforced by further decrees in 1904 mandating excommunication for any member either practicing or advocating polygamy. Certain fundamentalist Mormon sects continue to practice plural marriage today, albeit outside of the mainstream LDS Church body.

Although the mainstream LDS Church has renounced the practice of plural marriage, it still believes and teaches that a celestial marriage contracted between a single unmarried man[88] and a single unmarried woman in one of its temples is eternal, so long as both parties continue faithful to the Mormon religion until death. They see such a union as being indispensable for "exaltation" to "godhood" in the next life,[89] and deny an eternal union to all marriages contracted elsewhere.


Fasting forms an important part of both Mormon and Muslim doctrine. Mormons are encouraged to fast from all food and drink (including water) each Fast Sunday (generally the first Sunday of each month). They generally skip two meals during their fast and donate what they would have spent on those meals to those in need. Although this is the only church-scheduled period of recommended fasting, Mormons are encouraged to fast at other times, for personal revelation or during times of prayer and contemplation.[83] Fasting without prayer and sincere devotion to God is not regarded as of much spiritual benefit in the LDS Church.

Islam has as one of its "five pillars" the practice of Sawm, which is not merely fasting from all food and drink (including water), but equally from impure thoughts, words and deeds. Islamic fasting also requires one to refrain from smoking and sexual intercourse during the period of the fast, as well.[90] The infirm and travelers may delay their fasting until a later date, but must make up every obligatory day missed. While Sawm is optional during most of the year (and forbidden altogether on Islam's two holiest days: Eid ul Fitr and Eid ul Adha), it is mandatory during daylight hours throughout the month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It was during this month that the first verses of the Qur'an were said to have been revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.[91] The elderly, and those whose health is endangered by fasting (such as diabetics) are excused from doing so, but are required to make up for it by feeding the poor.[92]


Both Muslims and Mormons are active in proselytizing those outside of their religion, inviting them to learn about their faith and adopt it for themselves, if they so decide. In Islam, this is referred to as Da‘wah, and it is considered incumbent upon all Muslims to actively invite non-Muslims to the faith. Da‘wah is equally described as the duty to "actively encourage fellow Muslims in the pursuance of greater piety in all aspects of their lives".[93] In Islamic theology, the purpose of Da‘wah is to invite all people, both Muslims and non-Muslims, to understand the proper worship of God as expressed in the Qur'ān, as well as to inform them about Muhammad.[93] The government of Saudi Arabia spends significant amounts of money to propagate Islam throughout the world, via the building of mosques, printing and distribution of Qur'ans and other literature, and financing of missionaries.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also has a widespread proselytizing program, and are perhaps best known to others for this activity. Most of these missionaries are young Mormons (generally aged 18–26), though some are older couples or individuals. All persons aged eight and older, who are considering membership in the LDS Church, are taught by church missionaries prior to baptism. Once this person has been sufficiently instructed, he or she will be interviewed by another missionary to ensure their proper preparation for membership in the church. In certain situations, an interview with the area mission president may be necessary before the church agrees to baptize an individual.[94]


Interior of the national mosque of Malaysia. Neither Mormons nor Muslims permit drawings or photos inside their places of worship; the Mormons do allow some in the hallways and elsewhere outside of their chapels.

According to the Quran, idolatry or assigning partners to the One God (Arabic: shirk) is an egregious sin. It is seen as different from all other sins and is categorized as the one and only categorically unforgivable sin. Hence, depicting religious themes, and specifically God, is seen as inappropriate and unbecoming. Islam does not believe that Allah may be depicted in any artistic manner whatsoever, nor represented by any kind of image, no matter what reason one may have for doing so. Furthermore, the Sunni portion of Islam, comprising approximately 85% of the world's Muslims, also rejects all depictions of their prophets – whether artistic or photographic (as in a movie). For instance, the 1998 Dreamworks animated film The Prince of Egypt was banned in Egypt, Malaysia, the Maldives and Indonesia, as these predominately Muslim countries objected to any depiction of Moses, whom Islam views as a prophet.[95][96][97]

Latter-day Saints do not generally approve of or own crucifixes, and do not typically have statues in their local ward meeting houses, though some have been erected in LDS Visitor Centers and elsewhere.[98] Portraits of Jesus, together with photographs or paintings of current and/or past church leaders, are allowed in LDS meetinghouses, but not in the main worship area (called the Chapel), and they are not permitted for use as objects of devotion, as in Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox churches.[99] An exception to the general ban on statues is for an angel blowing a trumpet, commonly identified as Moroni, which is placed on the tallest spire of many LDS temples, facing eastward. These are, however, purely artistic in nature.

Muslims performing Wudu, the ritual of washing one's hands, arms, feet and head prior to Salat or other prayers.


Muslims are commanded in the Qur'an[100] to purify themselves prior to prayer by engaging in a ritual of washing known as Wudu. Although there are a few slight differences between the specifics of the Sunni and Shi'ite practice, Wudu always involves using clean water to wash the hands, teeth, mouth, nose, ears, face and neck, the arms up to the elbows, the feet up to the ankles, and running a wet hand over one's hair (called Masah). This must be done prior to each performance of Salat, the five-times-daily ritual prayers required of all Muslims, and must also be done prior to other ritual prayers. Those who have been able to preserve their ritual cleanliness according to Islamic rules are not required to perform Wudu, but are encouraged to do so nonetheless. This washing is accompanied by specified prayers and a sincere intention to perform Wudu in the heart.

For those adult Muslims who have had sexual intercourse or any sexual discharge (e.g. of semen),[101][102] or who have completed the menstrual cycle[103][104] or given birth,[105] the performance of ghusl is prescribed, replacing Wudu for that particular instance. In Ghusl, one bathes the entire body from head to foot, leaving none of it unwashed, again with sincere intention and prayers. Islam also recommends (i.e. it is mustahab) performance of the full ablution before the Friday[106][107] and Eid[108] prayers, before entering the ehram, in preparation for hajj,[109] after having lost consciousness,[109] and after formally converting to Islam.[110]

For those Muslims unable to find clean water to wash with, a ritual known as Tayammum is commanded, in which a Muslim uses "clean earth" to ritually cleanse his hands, arms, and face. This is only permitted if clean water is unavailable, or if the water is more than 1.7 km away.[111]

Although Mormonism does not require a special rite of washing prior to daily prayer or corporate worship, its special ceremony of washing and anointing (also called the "Initiatory") is an ordinance that symbolizes ritual cleansing and anointing to be a king or queen in heaven. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this rite is performed exclusively in temples. The ordinance of washing and anointing symbolizes the ritual cleansings of priests that took place at Israel's Tabernacle, the temple of Solomon, and at later temples in Jerusalem (see Exod. 28:4042, 29:49, 29:2021, 29:2930, 30:1821). As the name suggests, this ordinance has two parts, a ritual washing in water by a like-gendered person specially ordained to this task, followed by anointing with oil. This ritual is generally administered as a precursor to the endowment, one of the most important of Mormon temple ordinances.[112]

Dietary rules and alcohol

Both Mormonism and Islam forbid the drinking of alcoholic beverages. Both also offer their members a list of substances that are forbidden for consumption to believers.

Islamic jurisprudence specifies certain foods as being halāl, or lawful, and others as harām, or unlawful. These designations are based upon rules found in the Qur'an. Other restrictions have been added to these in various fatawa (authoritative Islamic statements of religious opinion) given by mujtahids (Islamic scholars) with various degrees of strictness. These are not always held to be authoritative by all Muslims everywhere. According to the Qur'an, the only foods explicitly forbidden are:[113]

However, should a Muslim find themselves in a situation where no other food is available other than some product mentioned above, he or she is permitted to eat of it, but only in such an amount as proves necessary to sustain one's life.[114]

In addition to these items, Islam generally forbids the eating of any beast of prey, or any beast having fangs, together with all meat that has not been slaughtered under the name of Allah, in accordance with Islamic ritual laws. Jewish-certified kosher meat is considered Halal for Muslims, as it is still slaughtered according to ancient practices meant to minimize the animal's suffering, and also to invoke the name of God at the time of the animal's death.[115] The Qur'an specifically authorizes consumption of such meat,[116] though modern Muslim practice generally forbids eating of non-Kosher or non-certified-Halal meat (such as is prepared in Western slaughterhouses), because the name of God is no longer mentioned over those animals that are slaughtered there, nor do modern slaughter methods correspond to traditionally approved Muslim ones.[117]

In addition to these items, Alcoholic beverages – or any intoxicant – are forbidden in Islam. According to the Qur'an, "intoxicants and games of chance" are "abominations of Satan's handiwork".[118]

Similarly, a set of Mormon dietary rules are found in the LDS D&C 89,[119] which contains three elements:

The sole exception made to the prohibitions contained in this "Word of Wisdom" is for wine used as part of the Mormon Sacrament of Communion), commonly referred to as "the Sacrament". The revelation indicates that if wine is used for the Sacrament, it must be pure and either "of your own make" or made by other Mormons. The LDS Church no longer uses wine in its Sacrament, having replaced it with water in conformity to a revelation on the subject;[120] thus members are no longer permitted to drink any alcoholic beverages. Tobacco, for its part, is stated as being "not for the body, neither for the belly, and [it] is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill."[121]

While forbidding alcohol, Islam does not prohibit coffee or tea, though some fatawa prohibit tobacco. Conversely, the LDS Church no longer has any restrictions on the types of meat one may eat, or when one may consume them (except for designated fasting periods – see above).

Other Latter Day Saint denominations and Islam

Besides The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Latter Day Saint movement contains several smaller factions, many (though not all) of which broke from the LDS Church in the decades following Joseph Smith's death. These include, but are not limited to:

These churches all reject various teachings of the mainline LDS Church, with specific differences varying from denomination to denomination. Most reject the LDS notion that God was ever once a man, or that man can become a god, as taught within the LDS Church. However, with the notable exception of the Strangites, each of these sects accepts in some way or another the traditional Christian division of the Godhead into three persons: Father, Son and Holy Ghost, thus placing each in fundamental opposition to Islamic dogma. The Strangites are closer to Islam by insisting that only the Father is God;[123] however, their assertion that God has a body of flesh[124] places them at odds with Islam, as well.

Islam does have acceptance of polygamy in common with the Strangites and Fundamentalist Mormons. Strangites, however, have given up the actual practice of (though not belief in) polygamy, while the Fundamentalist Mormons continue to practice it today. The other Latter Day Saint factions generally reject polygamy, together with eternal marriage, the Book of Abraham, and various other distinctive mainline LDS doctrines. While much of this renders them closer to Islam in some ways than the mainline LDS Church, numerous irreconcilable differences in doctrine and practices still persist between these smaller factions and the Muslim faith.[125]

The Community of Christ has used at least one Qur'anic text (Surah 5, verse 8) in an official publication for its youth,[126] and has offered a "Peace Colloquy" featuring a speaker who endeavored to present Islam in a positive light.[127]

See also


  1. Thomas Marsh and Orson Hyde Affidavit, for example; see also PBS's American Prophet: Prologue and Todd J. Harris, A Comparison of Muhammad and Joseph Smith in the Prophetic Pattern, a thesis submitted for a Master of Arts degree at Brigham Young University in 2007, footnotes on pages 1 and 2.
  2. PBS's American Prophet: Prologue.
  3. Thomas Marsh and Orson Hyde Affidavit, also Todd J. Harris, A Comparison of Muhammad and Joseph Smith in the Prophetic Pattern, a thesis submitted for a Master of Arts degree at Brigham Young University in 2007, footnotes on pages 1 and 2.
  4. See, for example:Joseph Smith and Muhammad: The Similarities, and Eric Johnson,Joseph Smith and Muhammad, a book published by the "Mormonism Research Ministry" and offered for sale by the anti-Mormon "Utah Lighthouse Ministries".
  5. See, for instance, Todd J. Harris, A Comparison of Muhammad and Joseph Smith in the Prophetic Pattern, a thesis submitted for a Master of Arts degree at Brigham Young University in 2007.
  6. "U.S. Muslims share friendship, similar values with Mormons". latimes. Retrieved 8 July 2015.
  7. World Muslim Congress: Mormons and Muslims; Mormon-Muslim Interfaith Ramadan Dinner.
  8. Adherents Dot Com, see under "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" and "Community of Christ"; the Community of Christ is the second-largest Latter Day Saint organization.
  9. See Other Latter Day Saint denominations and Islam, below.
  10. Encyclopedia of Mormonism, entry: "Godhead".
  11. See The King Follet Sermon: Parallel texts
  12. Doctrine & Covenants 132:20.
  13. Jesus Was Muslim, from the Islam-Voice website.
  14. 1 2 "Islam and Mormonism—A Comparison". Retrieved 8 July 2015.
  15. Initially, the second-largest Latter Day Saint group, now known as the Community of Christ, claimed that leadership should continue through Joseph Smith's descendants; this is no longer taught or advocated by that organization, as of 2012.
  16. 1 2 "Michael Youssef - Michael's Blogs - Common Threads between Islam and Mormonism". Retrieved 8 July 2015.
  17. "Times". Retrieved 8 July 2015.
  18. LDS Pearl of Great Price: Book of Moses 4:1-4; Book of Abraham 3:22-28.
  19. Holy Quran, Surah 7, vs. 11-12.
  20. "Angels". Retrieved 8 July 2015.
  21. "The Family in Mormonism". Retrieved 8 July 2015.
  22. Islam Made Easy For New Muslims, see under "Step 1 – Embracing Islam.
  23. Holy Qur'an, Surah 33, verse 40.
  24. "A Latter-day Saint Perspective on Muhammad". Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  25. How to Read the Quran, from Slate.
  26. Nasr, Seyyed Hossein (2007). "Qur’an". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 2007-11-04.
  27. Living Religions: An Encyclopaedia of the World's Faiths, Mary Pat Fisher, 1997, page 338, I.B. Tauris Publishers.
  28. Quran 17:106
  29. Holy Quran, Surah 96, verses 1-5.
  30. Holy Qur'an: Transmission of the Written Text, from the SunniPath Online Islamic Academy website.
  31. 1 2 [ "The Life and Ministry of Joseph Smith”, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City, Utah: LDS Church, 2007) pp. xxii–25.
  32. Joseph Smith–History 1:59
  33. "Tawhid". Retrieved 8 July 2015.
  34. "Allah". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 2008-05-28.
  35. Vincent J. Cornell, Encyclopedia of Religion, Vol 5, pp.3561-3562.
  36. Sami Zaatari, Shirk: The Unforgivable Sin in Islam, which contains the Qur'anic references on this subject.
  37. Deseret Weekly, August 30, 1890, 305, quoting from a sermon of LDS Church President Wilford Woodruff indicating God the Father as being the "head" of the Mormon Trinity.
  38. Book of Mormon: II Nephi 31:21; Doctrine and Covenants 20:17:33.
  39. LDS Pearl of Great Price, Book of Abraham, Chapters 4 and 5.
  40. See The Only True God and Jesus Christ Whom He Hath Sent by Jeffery R. Holland
  41. Doctrine and Covenants 130:22.
  42. "Chapter 2: God the Eternal Father", Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City, Utah: LDS Church, 2011) pp. 36–44.
  43. See The First Presidency (Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder, and Anthon H. Lund), in James R. Clark, comp: Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 4:205-6
  44. See Smith, Joseph F. et al., "The Origin of Man", Improvement Era (November 1909): 80. See also, for example, Hinckley 1991, encouraging Latter-day Saint women not to pray to the Heavenly Mother; or M. Russell Ballard stating "we are part of a divine plan designed by Heavenly Parents who love us" in his book When Thou Art Converted.
  45. "Guide to the Scriptures: Prayer". The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved 2006-07-23.
  46. "Pray unto the Father in My Name". The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved 2006-07-23.
  47. Who Created the Universe and Why? and Why Were We Created?.
  48. The Contributor, vol. 4, p. 257 (Joseph Smith April 1844 sermon). See also Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 14:116; and Stephen E. Robinson, LDS Differences in Doctrine.
  49. Why Were We Created?.
  50. Quoted in What My Mother Has Advised Me, by Abid Sayd.
  51. Muslims Believe..., see last paragraph.
  52. Why Do Mormons Refer to Each Other as Brother and Sister?, from the Mormon Woman website.
  53. Family Home Evening Website, from the official website of the LDS Church.
  54. Is Friday a Substitute for Sabbath or Sunday?. From the Understanding Islam website.
  55. Holy Qur'an, Surah 52, verse 21.
  56. Wheeler, Brannon M. Prophets in the Quran: an introduction to the Quran and Muslim exegesis. Comparative Islamic studies. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-8264-4957-3. Ibn Sa'd [...] reports that [...] the total number of prophets is 1000. Ibn Hanbal, Musnad lists the total number of prophets as 224,000 (Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, 5, 169).
  57. Wheeler, Brannon M. Prophets in the Quran: an introduction to the Quran and Muslim exegesis. Comparative Islamic studies. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-8264-4957-3. There are 25 prophets mentioned by name in the Quran [...] Among those mentioned by name are: Adam (mentioned 25 times by name), Idris (1), Noah (43), Hud (7), Salih (10), Abraham (69), Ishmael (12), Isaac (17), Jacob (16), Lot (27), Joseph (27), Shuayb (11), Job (4), Dhu al-Kifl (2), Moses (137), Aaron (20), David (16), Solomon (17), Elijah (1), Elisha (2), Jonah (4), Zechariah (7), John (5), Jesus (25), Muhammad (4).
  58. Prophets in Islam. References all three prophets named here, with their corresponding Biblical identities.
  59. James A. Toronto (August 2000). "A Latter-day Saint Perspective on Muhammad". Ensign. Retrieved 2013-09-14.. See also Brian Hauglid, What Do Mormons Think of Muhammad?. and
  60. See Muhammad, the Last Prophet, by Dr. Ahmad Shafaat.
  61. The Oxford Dictionary of Islam, p.158
  62. Surah 4:157 clearly states this.
  63. Encyclopedia of the Qur'an, Jesus
  64. "Isa", Encyclopedia of Islam
  65. In Islam, Jesus' Virgin Birth is not seen as conferring divinity upon him, nor does it make him a Son of God; Muslims compare his miraculous birth to the creation of Adam, who also had no human father. See Do Muslims Believe in the Virgin Birth of Jesus? for further information from the Muslim perspective.
  66. How do the Latter-day Saints Understand Salvation?, from the Brigham Young University website.
  67. The Original Sin, from the IslamicReligion website.
  68. Atonement. From the LDS dot net website.
  69. What Does Islam Say About Life's Purpose?.
  70. The Purpose of Life, from the Why Mormonism website. See also Ted L. Gibbons, Living Righteously in a Wicked World.
  71. Holy Quran, Surah 4, verse 48.
  72. Multiple opinions exist in Islam as to the state of those who never heard of Islam, or did not properly comprehend it. See Fate of the Unlearned in Islam for further details and references.
  73. See previous note.
  74. Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad, Sahia al-Bukhari, 1:2:42.
  75. Sahih al-Bukhari, 8:76:474.
  76. LDS Bible Dictionary: Grace.
  77. LDS Doctrine and Covenants 76:103.
  78. LDS Doctrine and Covenants 76:84, 105-06.
  79. LDS Doctrine and Covenants 76:45-46.
  80. Islami City: Zakat.
  81. Holy Quran, Surah 9, verses 34-35.
  82. "Tithing settlement", Church News, 1994-12-10.
  83. 1 2 "Fasting and Fast Offerings",
  84. "Mormons Donate for Indonesia Earthquake Relief". The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Newsroom. 2006-05-31. Retrieved 2006-05-31.
  85. 1 2 What to Expect When You're Expecting a Co-Wife, from
  86. Philly's Black Muslims Increasingly turn to polygamy.
  87. LDS Doctrine and Covenants, Section 132, verses 1-2, 66.
  88. "Unmarried", for men, meaning in terms of this world; a Mormon man may be "sealed" to more than one woman, but not more than one living woman at a time. Mormon women may only ever be "sealed" to one man, although they may apply for an ecclesiastical divorce (called a "Cancellation of Sealing"; men, too, may apply for this if they wish to terminate their marriage to a Mormon woman, living or dead) if they wish to be sealed to another man.
  89. LDS Doctrine and Covenants, Section 131.
  90. Sawm Fasting.
  91. BBC: Ramadan.
  92. Ramadan FAQ's, see under "Are There Any Exemptions From Fasting?"
  93. 1 2 The Encyclopaedia of Islam
  94. LDS Church Handbook of Instructions, pp. 32-34.
  95. "There can be miracles", The Independent, January 24, 1999
  96. "CNN Showbuzz – January 27, 1999". CNN. 1999-01-27. Retrieved 2009-03-12.
  97. "Titles banned in Egypt". IMDB. Retrieved 2009-02-28.
  98. See Temple Square: Sites, under "North and South Visitors' Centers" for one example.
  99. LDS Church Handbook of Instructions, pp. 181-82.
  100. Holy Quran, Surah 5, verse 6.
  101. Sahih Muslim, hadith number 616
  102. Sharh as-Sunnah by al-Baghawi, vol 2., pg. 9
  103. Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz by Shaykh Abd al-Aziz ibn Baaz, vol. 10 pg. 161
  104. Majmoo’ Fataawa Ibn ‘Uthaymeen by Muhammad ibn Saalih al-Uthaymeen, vol. 11 pg. 318-319
  105. Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 23, Hadith number 345
  106. Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 12, Hadith number 817
  107. Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Maqaalaat Mutanawwi’ah li Samaahat by Shaykh Abd al-Aziz ibn Baaz, part 12, pg. 404
  108. Sharh Mukhtasar, Volume 2, pg. 102
  109. 1 2 Tamaam al-Minnah by Shaykh al-Albani, pg. 120
  110. How to Become Muslim.
  111. Lemu, B. A. Islamic Aqidah and Fiqh:A textbook of Islamic Belief and Jurisprudence, revised and expanded edition of Tawhid and Fiqh), IQRA' International Educational Foundation, Chicago, 1997.
  112. Boyd K. Packer, "Come to the Temple", Liahona, October 2007.
  113. Holy Quran: Surah 2, verse 173; Surah 5, verse 3.
  114. Holy Quran: Surah 2, verse 173.
  115. The Alert for Haraam.
  116. Holy Quran: Surah 5, verse 5.
  117. and Shaukat A. Ameen, Is the meat of Ahl-al-Kitab Halal?. The second reference contains detailed information about the correct Islamic procedure for slaughtering meat, as well as reasons why non-Kosher and non-Halal-certified meat is no longer considered lawful by many modern Muslims.
  118. Holy Quran: Surah 5, verses 90-91; Surah 2, verse 219; the latter verse also prohibits gambling.
  119. Doctrine & Covenants 89
  120. LDS Doctrine and Covenants, Section 27.
  121. LDS Doctrine and Covenants, Section 89, verse 8.
  122. New President for Church of Jesus Christ (Bickerton) (PDF). The John Whitmer Historical Association. 2005. p. 13.
  123. Strang, James J. (1856) Book of the Law of the Lord, Being a Translation From the Egyptian of the Law Given to Moses in Sinai. St. James: Royal Press, pp. 47-63.
  124. Book of the Law, chapter 2, "The True God," note vs. 9-20, quoted in True & Living God.
  125. See Differences Between the LDS, Temple Lot and Community of Christ Churches; the Community of Christ is referred to as "RLDS" in this table, which stands for "Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints", its former name. Also see the Wikipedia article on Community of Christ (differentiation from LDS Church) for a more detailed study of differences between the LDS and Community of Christ churches. These references can provide a starting point for comparison of non-Utah LDS Latter Day Saint beliefs with Islamic beliefs.
  126. Ordinary Time, Proper 28, "Words of Encouragement".
  127. John Esposito, The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality?, address delivered at the 2005 Community of Christ Peace Colloquy, Independence, Missouri.


Further reading

External links

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