This comparison examines Catholicism and Islam to contrast their principles, beliefs and religious practices.

Comparison chart

Catholicism versus Islam comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartCatholicismIslam
CatholicismIslam
Place of origin Jerusalem Arabian Peninsula, Mecca at Mount Hira.
Place of worship Church, chapel, cathedral, basilica. Mosque/masjid, any place which is considered clean by Islamic standards.
About Belonging to the Church Founded By Christ, when He chose St. Peter as His Rock (first Pope). Apostles creed gives summary of Catholic creed, man fell and Christ came to redeem mankind. 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.
Scriptures Holy Bible, a collection of 73 canonical books in two parts, 46 in the Old Testament, and 27 in the New Testament. 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.
Founder Jesus Christ, St. Peter the Apostle. 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 catholic - from the Greek adjective καθολικός, (katholikos) meaning "general" or "universal". 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.
Belief of God One God: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit 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.
Goal of religion To give glory to God and share Eternal Life in Him. 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
Belief Believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the King of Heaven, and Saviour of the entire world. 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
Practices Catholics are expected to participate in the liturgical life, celebrate and revere Jesus' sacrifice on the cross at Mass. The celebration of seven sacraments Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, Matrimony, Anointing of Sick, Holy Orders and Confession. 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 Crosses, statues and pictures are acceptable in Catholicism. Catholics widely use them as depictions of Christ, Mary, and the Saints. 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
Human Nature Man has inherited "original sin" from Adam. Mankind then is inherently evil and is in need of forgiveness of their sin. 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.
Confessing sins Confess to priests for absolution from sins in the name of Christ (John 20:22-23). Prayer to the Saints. 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
Life after death Eternal Salvation in Heaven; Eternal Damnation in Hell; Temporal third state before Heaven for those who desire purification, known as Purgatory. 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.
Clergy Heirarchial clergy in Holy Orders Deacons, monks, nuns, Priests and Bishops, other ranks are only offices (archibshop, cardinal Pope etc. although several other offices also exist) Imam leads congregational prayer in a mosque. Sheikh, Maulana, Mullah and Mufti
Means of salvation Received at baptism; may be lost by mortal sin; salvation through faith and penance. Belief in Jesus as the sole savior of humanity. Must have a relationship with Jesus. Good Works. Seven Sacraments. Belief in one God, remembrance of God, repentance, fear of God and hope in God's mercy.
Day of worship Worship should be a continual process in the lives of Roman Catholics. Sunday is not the only day Catholics can attend Church for Mass. Prayer five times daily is obligatory. Friday is the day of congregational prayer, obligatory for men, but not for women.
Second coming of Jesus Affirmed. Affirmed
Religious Law 10 Commandments, Canon law , Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), papal decrees and orders. 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
Definition Universal. Islam is an Arabic word for "Submission or surrender in Ultimate Peace".Muslim means a believer in One God (Al-Illah or Allah)
Original Languages Latin and Greek. Arabic.
Status of women Women are Equal to men and have the same dignity as men, but women are not eligible for Ordination in Catholicism.They can be religious (sister, or commonly called "Nun") and can lead many offices assisting the clergy within the church. 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.
Marriage Marriage is sacrament between one man and one woman. Divorce does not exist in Catholicism, but there is annulment (that the marriage was invalid to begin with) by competent church official. 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.
God's role in salvation God sent His only Divine Son to save humanity from their sins. 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.
Principle Adam and Eve sinned, as have all subsequent human beings because God created us with a free will to make choices. Man was unable to adhere to laws of God, so Christ came as the ultimate sacrifice to reconcile us to God. 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
Concept of Deity Believe in the Trinity. Three persons in one God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God (Allah) is the only god and is all-powerful and omniscient.
Status of Muhammad False Prophet. Deeply loved and revered in Islam. The last Prophet, but is not worshipped. Only God (the creator) is worshipped in Islam; God's creation (including prophets) are not considered worthy of worship.
Status of Adam Adam was the first man created by God. He fell into temptation and brought sin and death to the human race. Free from all major sins and faults. Adam is the first prophet and man on earth as sent by Allah and he is the father of Humanity, and Muhammad is the last prophet in Islam.
Position of Mary The Queen of all Saints. View is similar to the Orthodox church - the title 'Mother of God' being used more commonly than Theotokos. In addition, it is claimed that at various points in history, Mary has revealed herself to the world in apparitions. Mary receives significant admiration from Muslims. She is said by the Prophet Muhammad to be one of the four best women that God created. She is free of sin as the mother of Jesus.
Angels Angels are God's messengers. Spirits seen as immortal and always praising God. They never disobey God except for Lucifer (Satan) and the angels who follow him (demons). Angels are created from light and remain unseen as they worship and follow God's commands.
Praying to Saints, Mary, and Angel Allowed. They can intercede with God on your behalf. Shiites ask for Saints' intercession, but, Sunnis do not. Mary is venerated by both Sunnis and Shiites however.
Presence of Christ in Eucharist Yes. Denied, although Alawites believe that Allah is present in their ceremonial wine.

Share this comparison:

If you read this far, you should follow us:

"Catholicism vs Islam." Diffen.com. Diffen LLC, n.d. Web. 24 May 2016. < >