On the surface, Buddhism and Islam have more differences than similarities in their philosophies. While Islam is a monotheistic religion that believes in worshiping an almighty God, Buddhism rejects the notion of a creator God but does honor enlightened beings as deities.

Buddhism preaches vegetarianism and shunning alcohol and drugs. Islam also bans alcohol but does not preach vegetarianism.

A Buddhist who takes a spiritual refuge outside the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha is not considered a Buddhist. S/he may study and learn from other religions, but to consider another teaching and to honour someone outside the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha (collectively called the Sasana) as equal to or higher than the Sasana makes him/her a non Buddhist.

Comparison chart

Buddhism versus Islam comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartBuddhismIslam
BuddhismIslam
Place of origin Nepal, India Arabian Peninsula, Mecca at Mount Hira.
Place of worship Monasteries, nunneries, pagodas and temples. Mosque/masjid, any place which is considered clean by Islamic standards.
Practices Practices of the Threefold Training: Morality, Concentration, and Wisdom. Five pillars: Testament that there is one God and Muhammad is his messenger (shahadah); prayer five times daily; fast during Ramadan; charity to the poor (zakat); pilgrimage (Hajj).
Use of statues and pictures Common Images of God or prophets not permitted. Art takes the form of calligraphy, architecture etc. Muslims distinguish themselves from other groups by not drawing lifelike human works, which could be mistaken as idolatry. No image is representative of God
Belief of God Buddhism does not believe in a Creator God. Only one God (monotheism). God is the one True Creator. God has always existed, none existed before him and will exist forever. He transcends life and death. No part of His creation resembles Him, He cannot be seen, but sees all.
Life after death Until one has attained Nirvana, he or she will be reborn into any of the 31 planes of existence over and over again, due to his/her karma. All beings created with reason will be accountable to God Almighty on the Day of Judgement. They will be rewarded for every atom's weight of good, and either forgiven or punished for evil deeds.
About Following the teachings of the Buddha Islam consists of individuals who believe in Allah, a deity whose teachings its followers—Muslims—believe were recorded, verbatim, by the god's last prophet, Muhammad.
Means of salvation Buddhism has nothing to do with "salvation". The only goal in Buddhism is to attain Nirvana. To do this, we should let go of our desires, cravings and attachments, and try to dispel our ignorance Belief in one God, remembrance of God, repentance, fear of God and hope in God's mercy.
Belief The Buddha was the teacher to show us the four noble truths and the eightfold path (the path to nirvana or the way to enlightenment). Belief in one God, who has sent messengers with revelation and guidance for humanity so they may be guided to good & who have came with both good news and a warning, the last & final messenger being Muhammad صلى الله علي
Religious Law The Buddha's teachings, the Dharma. Shariah law (derived from Quran and Hadith) governs prayers, business transactions, and individual rights, as well as criminal and governmental laws. Religious debate, or 'Shura' is utilized for practical solutions to contemporary issues
Goal of religion To attain enlightenment and be released from the cycle of rebirth and death, thus attaining Nirvana. Fulfill gift and responsibility of this life through following the guidance of Holy Quran and Hadith, striving to serve mankind through compassion, justice, trustworthiness, and love for all of God's creation
Day of worship Instead of worshipping, Buddhists pay obeisance to the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. Prayer five times daily is obligatory. Friday is the day of congregational prayer, obligatory for men, but not for women.
Founder Gautama Buddha (born as Prince Siddhartha) Prophet Muhammad. According to Islamic scripture, all people who follow God's revealed guidance and the messengers sent with it 'submit' to that guidance, and are considered Muslims (ie. Adam, Moses, Abraham, Jesus, etc.).
Literal Meaning Buddhists mean those who follow the teachings of the Buddha Islam is derived from the Arabic root "Salema": peace, purity, submission and obedience. In the religious sense, Islam means submission to the will of God and obedience to His law. A Muslim is one who follows Islam.
Prophets No prophets accepted in Theravada Buddhism. God sent thousands of divinely inspired messengers to guide mankind. These include Adam, Solomon, David, Noah, Abraham, Ismail, Issac, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. There are 124,000 prophets, who were sent to all the world's nations.
Original Language(s) Original language is Magada, language used during the lifetime of the Buddha, which is the universal language (understood all over the universe) Arabic
Human Nature Ordinary human beings possess greed, anger, delusion, igorance, cravings, etc. and they were compared by the Buddha as 'the fools' and 'the blind'. (Ordinary human beings mean those who haven't walked or are not walking the Eightfold Path.) Humans are born pure and innocent. Upon reaching adolescence, you are responsible for what you do, and must choose right from wrong. Islam also teaches that faith and action go hand-in-hand.
Scriptures Tripitaka - a vast volume of 3 main sections: the Discourses, the Discipline and the Absolute Doctrine - which appeared only after the death of the Buddha, thanks to the monks who collected all the teachings of the Buddha. The Qur'an, and traditions of the Holy Last messenger Muhammad, called 'Sunnah' which is found in narrations or 'hadiths' by the men around him.
Clergy Monks and Nuns, who unitedly and exactly follow the teachings of the Buddha under the name 'Sangha'. Imam leads congregational prayer in a mosque. Sheikh, Maulana, Mullah and Mufti
God's role in salvation No God or gods. Salvation is not related to Buddhism at all. The Buddha also told us to depend on our own to attain nirvana (by practising the Threefold Training or the Eightfold Path). You are judged according to your efforts to do good and avoid sinful behaviors, oppression, etc. God will judge your deeds and intentions. A person must believe in God and follow His commandments.
Confessing sins Not a part of (Theravada) Buddhism. The Buddha told us that we should strive hard ourselves to dismiss the bad deeds we have already done (except for certain bad deeds, e.g., matricide, etc.) and also showed us the way to do so. Forgiveness must be sought from God, there is no intermediary with him. If any wrong is done against another person or thing, forgiveness must first be sought from them, then from God, as all of God's creation have rights that must not be infringed
Views on other religion Buddhism does not condemn any of other religions . Christians, Jews, etc are regarded as the people of the book, who hold a great deal of respect over materialists. Any connection to divine guidance/scripture is a positive one.
Followers Buddhists Muslims
Marriage Seen as a social convention and mainly a personal and individual concern, not a religious duty. Advice in the Discourses are on how to maintain a happy and harmonious marriage. Faithfulness and monogamy was encouraged. Islam is totally opposed to monasticism and celibacy. Marriage is an act of Sunnah in Islam and is strongly recommended. Men can only marry the "people of the book" i.e., Abrahamic religions. Women can only marry a Muslim man.
Concept of God A God or gods have always been rejected wholly by Theravada Buddhists. Their only refuges are the three jewels: The Buddha, The Dhamma, and The Sangha. Ninety nine names and attributes of Allah (God) who is infinite supreme, Sublimely one, all are dependent on him yet he depends on none. Self sufficient. without beginning and without end, and there is nothing comparable to him.
Definition Teachings of the Buddha Islam is an Arabic word for "Submission or surrender in Ultimate Peace".Muslim means a believer in One God (Al-Illah or Allah)
Geographical distribution and predominance Theradava Buddhist countries, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Sri Lanka are the places of predominance of Buddhism. The Noble Truths are presently best heard in Myanmar only. There are 1.6 billion. By the percentage of the total population in a region considering themselves Muslim, 24.8% in Asia-Oceania, 91.2% in the Middle East-North Africa, 29.6% in Sub-Saharan Africa, around 6.0% in Europe, and 0.6% in the Americas.
View of Oriental religions Knows that any other religions cannot lead to the nirvana, but never condemns them. Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Shino are not from following the right path. But, “… And We never punish until We have sent a Messenger (to give warning).” [al-Israa’ 17:15].
View of the Buddha Founder of Buddhism or the Four Noble Truths He may be one of the 124,000 Prophets.
Principle This life is suffering, and the only way to escape from this suffering is to dispel one's cravings and ignorance by practising the Eightfold Path. Say, "He is Allah , [who is] One, Allah , the Eternal Refuge. He neither begets nor is born, Nor is there to Him any equivalent." - Quran: Surah Al Ikhlas
Angels No angels accepted. Angels are created from light and remain unseen as they worship and follow God's commands.
Symbols Wheel. None that are universal, though Muhammad's name in calligraphy is common. The popular star and crescent symbol is also common, but mainly relates to historical and political issues, not necessarily religious ones.
Status of women No gender bias in Buddhism. In the Discourse related to householders, named 'Tein-gala-wada', certain duties and obligations were mentioned and applied to specific gender i.e. duties of a husband to a wife and vice versa, by the Buddha. The prophet said "Do good to and serve your mother, then your mother, then your mother, then your father, then the near relatives and then those who come after them." Islam's honoring women is the great status of the mother in Islam.
Concept of Deity Instead of deities, Devas or celestial beings are accepted as those suffering in the samsara. God (Allah) is the only god and is all-powerful and omniscient.
Teachings about Behavior Never do what is evil; do what is good; keep your mind pure. (teachings of the Buddhas about behavior) Follow the Qur'an and the Hadiths (Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad)

Further Reading

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