6 May 2022


Christianity and Islam

Format: MLA

Academic level: College

Paper type: Essay (Any Type)

Words: 810

Pages: 3

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Both Christianity & Islam have had the biggest influence on the history of the world. This essay will discuss how both Christianity and Islam evolved to the current worldwide religions. It will also give reasons why both religions succeeded in spreading rapidly throughout the world. 

Christianity originated in the Middle East from early Judaism, Zoroastrianism and mystery cults such as Mithra. From the 2nd century, BCE Essenes existed in huge numbers and were scattered through Roman Judea. From then came the Age of Empires where most of the Middle East was ruled by Empires which practiced aspects of the Jewish religion. It was during the reign of the Roman Empire that the birth of Jesus Christ which had been prophesied came to pass. The Messiah was born to a Virgin Mary. Christ grew up and started preaching the gospel throughout Israel, Palestine and other parts of the Middle East. Due to his preaching of the new gospel, Jesus was crucified (Stephen Bartlett). He resurrected from the dead after three days and filled his disciples with the Holy Spirit before ascending to heaven. His disciples continued preaching the gospel in spite of the persecution of Christians that was going on then. 

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Gentiles and Jews were accepted into Christianity during the Council of Jerusalem. From then Christianity spread through many cities in the Middle East and the Roman Empire. In 325AD Roman Emperor Constantine convened the Council of Nicea where it was agreed that Jesus is one with God the Father. In early Middle Ages Europe, Christian churches led by popes in Rome unified Germans and Celts who were fighting by providing religious unity. The Church adapted some Celtic & Germanic cultures into Christianity and helped in shaping European society (Judge & Langdon, 2015). Through this strategy, Christianity spread through the Middle Ages Europe. 

Medieval Europe was characterized by monasticism where Christian monks and nuns secluded themselves from the secular society and lived in monasteries and convents while promoting Christian beliefs (Judge & Langdon, 2015). Noblemen, kings and their subjects practiced Christianity. In the tenth century, the Church faced a series of scandals but was revived by popes connected to the Cluny monastery. The Eastern and Western Catholic churches split in 1054 hence setting a stage for a rivalry between the Orthodox and Roman Catholics. Jerusalem was conquered by Muslims by Crusaders in 1099. In the late 11th century and early 12th century, there was a clash between the Church and the state over power and tax. In 1305 the papacy was moved to Avignon after a dispute with Phillip IV of France and was later moved back to Rome in 1377 by Pope Gregory XI (Stephen Bartlett). In 1409, the Council of Pisa tried to end Western Schism, and in 1417 the Council of Constance successfully ended Western Schism. In 1517 the Protestant Reformation began led by Martin Luther. John Calvin developed doctrines of predestination and introduced Protestant systematic theology leading to the decline of the Christian Empire in the 16th century.

Islam originated in Arabia. Pre-Islamic Arabia was occupied by merchant tribes who practiced paganism. Muhammed was born to a family of traders in 570AD. He too became a businessman when he grew up and married Khadija when he came of age (Stephen Bartlett). At age forty, he began seeing visions. He visited Mount Hira to find the meaning of the visions. In 622, the Angel Gabriel revealed himself to Muhammed. He revealed to him that there is only one God. 

He believed that he was called by the one and only God, Allah, to teach a new religion called Islam. From then, Islam spread rapidly and started facing opposition in Mecca due to its popularity and claim of there being only one God. In 622 Mohamed & his followers left Mecca and moved to Medina where his followers increased (Judge & Langdon, 2015). He kept receiving revelations from God which were recorded and became the five pillars of Islam and basis of the Koran. In 630, he returned to Mecca after fighting and conquering it back. Muhammed was honored as a prophet and led Mecca until 632 when he died. Between 632 and 661 Islam expanded into Southwest Asia and Mediterranean basin through Jihad. 

Jihad means the obligation to wage holy war against non-believers. It is through military Jihad that the Caliphate Empire expanded. In 1644, there appeared two factions of Islam: the Sunni and Shiite Muslims due to leadership disagreements. The Shiite expanded through North Africa, Egypt, Syria, Iran, and Mesopotamia. By 670 the Sunni had expanded to Afghanistan, Western India and Algeria in North Africa (Stephen Bartlett). By 750 the Islamic empire had spread through Spain, Egypt, North Africa, Syria, Lebanon, the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, Afghanistan, Mesopotamia, and India. The Umayyad dynasty ruled the Caliphate of Cordoba between 929 and 1031. 

The Abbasids moved the capital of the caliphate to Baghdad in 763 due to its strategic location and became a center of Islamic civilization. The Abbasids welcomed everyone regardless of religion to Baghdad and abolished the elitist status enjoyed by Arabs (Judge & Langdon, 2015). Their achievements created connections across Asia, Africa, and Russia. The Mongols eventually defeated the Abbasids in 1258. In spite of this, Muslims remained united by religion. Islam influenced Europe through intermediaries, art, philosophy, medicine, science, mathematics and astronomy (Stephen Bartlett). 

In conclusion, Islam’s rapid expansion is attributed to a dynamic military impulse, spiritual principles of Islam and the adoption of the Arabic language. Christianity spread by adopting aspects of Celtic and Germanic cultures and offering religious unity to Medieval Europe. 


Judge, E. H., & Langdon, J. W. (2015). Connections: A world history .

Stephen Bartlett. Notes_on_Christianity_and_Islam.

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 16). Christianity and Islam.


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