Difference between Hinduism and Islam

Updated on August 30, 2016

Have you ever confused Muslims with Hindus or vice versa? Do you not have a clear understanding of what each religion means? Then it is time to get the facts straight. Keep reading and you will find out what is the main difference between Hinduism and Islam.


Hindus praying

Hinduism is a major religion with more than one billion followers. It originated in the Indian subcontinent and is practiced today in many Asian and Southeast Asian countries. Some people consider it the oldest religion in the world.

Although they have the Vedic texts as reference, there is no holy book believers need to abide by. There is no religious authority and no ecclesiastical order. All practitioners are on a path to their own enlightenment and release from the Earthly binds. In the Hindu tradition, a person’s soul passes through a cycle which begins with birth and continues after death through reincarnation. The process is governed by Karma, a concept of balance between action and consequence and fair retribution for everything done.

Another Hindu important concept is the Dharma, which translates into “duty” or “virtue.” It means acting correctly toward other men and God. This supreme deity can be perceived by every believer differently. The Hindu pantheon offers a lot of options from the paternal figure to the Goddesses. All of these deities are representations of the same God and emanate from this entity. Hindus pray in temples and bring offerings.

Muslims praying at a Mosque in Afghanistan

Islam is a monotheistic religion. Its followers are called Muslims, and the Muslim God is Allah. It is the main religion in the Middle East, in North African regions and in some parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Through migration, the Muslim faith has reached many other countries in Europe and the Americas. There are about 1.6 billion registered Muslims in the world.

The holy book of Islam is the Qur’an. Its teachings are completed by the Sunnah, the practical examples of the life of the Prophet Muhammad. The Muslim faith has five pillars which teach adherents how to behave in literally every aspect of their lives. These are the declaration of faith, the obligation to pray five times a day, to give money to charity, to fast, and to make at least one pilgrimage to Mecca. Muslim believers are expected to pray five times a day, when the call to prayer is made from the local mosques.

Hinduism vs Islam

So what is the difference between Hinduism and Islam?

These two religions are very different from one another. One resemblance, though, consists in the fact that they are contenders for the position of the oldest religion in the world. Otherwise, the two differ greatly.

Hindus have temples while Muslims have mosques. Hindu temples have statues at the feet of which people make offerings. There are various representations of many types of gods, which are all said to emanate from one Supreme God. By contrast, Muslims have only one God, Allah, who is neither male nor female, has no predecessors or descendants and has no partners in governing the human world. There is no representation of Allah in any way. To make one would be considered a sin and false idolatry.

A Hindu’s quest is to break the reincarnation circle and reach Nirvana, a state of enlightenment. A Muslim’s responsibilities lie with leading a life that is pleasant to Allah in all aspects. A Hindu does not die but rather reincarnates. If they have done bad deeds, according to Karma, they will reincarnate into a lesser being. When a Muslim dies, they are brought before Allah to be judged for their deeds. Evil deeds are punished.

Hinduism has no prophets or religious leaders. Islam has the prophet Muhammad, and the Imams are the religious leaders of Muslims. The Hindus have the Vedas and other teachings, which were transmitted orally, while the Muslims have the written word of the Qur’an and the Sunnah, the practical teachings and examples of the Prophet.

Hindus can have one wife. Muslims are permitted by their religion to have several wives. As far as the position of women is concerned, women can become priestesses and nuns in Hinduism.

Comparison Chart

Its followers are called HindusIts followers are called Muslims
1 billion followers1.6 billion followers
Mainly practiced in India and NepalMainly practiced in the Middle East and the North African and Sub-Saharan regions
There is a Supreme God but Hindus have a full pantheon of deities to pray to; all of them are representations of the same GodThere is only Allah
There are no prophetsProphet Muhammad is revered by all Muslims
There is no religious authorityThe Imam is the religious figure of authority
Oral texts such as the VedasThere is the written text of the Qur’an and the Sunnah, which holds examples from the life of the Prophet
A believer’s responsibility is to break the circle of reincarnation and to achieve enlightenmentA believer’s responsibility is to lead a life pleasing to Allah
After death, a Hindu reincarnatesAfter death, a Muslim is judged by Allah
Bad deeds are punished by KarmaBad deeds are punished by Allah
Followers pray in templesFollowers pray in mosques
Gods are represented by statuesAllah cannot be represented in any way
A follower must live a life of virtueA follower must respect the five pillars of Islam
Hindus can have one wifeMuslims can have several wives
Women can become priestesses and nunsWomen’s rights are limited compared to those of men