Buddhism vs. Islam

What's the Difference?

Buddhism and Islam are two major world religions that have distinct differences but also share some similarities. Buddhism, founded by Siddhartha Gautama in the 6th century BCE, emphasizes the pursuit of enlightenment and the cessation of suffering through the practice of meditation and adherence to the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. On the other hand, Islam, founded by Prophet Muhammad in the 7th century CE, centers around the belief in one God (Allah) and the following of the Five Pillars, including prayer, fasting, and pilgrimage. While Buddhism focuses on individual spiritual development and the concept of karma, Islam emphasizes the submission to Allah's will and the importance of community and social justice. Despite these differences, both religions promote ethical behavior, compassion, and the pursuit of a meaningful life.


Photo by Jose Luis Sanchez Pereyra on Unsplash
FounderSiddhartha Gautama (Buddha)Muhammad
Belief in GodNo belief in a personal GodBelief in one God (Allah)
ScripturesTripitaka (Pali Canon)Quran
Place of WorshipTemples, monasteries, and pagodasMosques
GoalAttaining enlightenment (Nirvana)Submission to the will of Allah (Jannah)
AfterlifeReincarnation or reaching NirvanaParadise (Jannah) or Hell (Jahannam)
Major HolidaysVesak, Magha PujaEid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha
PracticesMeditation, mindfulness, ethical conductPrayer, fasting, charity, pilgrimage
DivisionsTheravada, Mahayana, VajrayanaSunni, Shia, Sufism
Photo by Fahrul Azmi on Unsplash

Further Detail


Buddhism and Islam are two major world religions that have millions of followers across the globe. While they differ in their origins, beliefs, and practices, both religions offer guidance and teachings to their adherents. In this article, we will explore the attributes of Buddhism and Islam, highlighting their similarities and differences.


Buddhism originated in the 6th century BCE in ancient India, with Siddhartha Gautama, also known as the Buddha, as its founder. The Buddha sought enlightenment and taught his followers the path to liberation from suffering. On the other hand, Islam emerged in the 7th century CE in the Arabian Peninsula, with the Prophet Muhammad as its founder. Muhammad received revelations from Allah (God) through the angel Gabriel, which were later compiled into the Quran.


Buddhism is a non-theistic religion that focuses on personal spiritual development and the attainment of enlightenment. Buddhists believe in the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth (reincarnation) known as samsara. They strive to break free from this cycle by following the Noble Eightfold Path, which includes principles such as right understanding, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.

On the other hand, Islam is a monotheistic religion that believes in the existence of one God, Allah. Muslims follow the Five Pillars of Islam, which include the declaration of faith (Shahada), prayer (Salat), giving to charity (Zakat), fasting during Ramadan (Sawm), and pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj). Muslims believe in the Day of Judgment, where individuals will be held accountable for their actions in this life.

Worship and Practices

Buddhists engage in various forms of worship and practices. They often visit temples or monasteries to meditate, offer prayers, and make offerings to the Buddha or other revered figures. Meditation plays a central role in Buddhism, as it helps individuals cultivate mindfulness and develop insight into the nature of reality. Buddhist rituals may also involve chanting, prostrations, and the use of prayer beads.

Similarly, Muslims have specific practices and rituals. They gather in mosques for congregational prayers, especially on Fridays, which is considered the holiest day of the week. Muslims face the Kaaba in Mecca during their prayers as a symbol of unity. They also observe fasting during the month of Ramadan from dawn to sunset, abstaining from food, drink, and other physical needs. Additionally, Muslims are encouraged to give to charity and perform acts of kindness towards others.


Buddhism has a vast collection of scriptures, with different traditions having their own set of texts. The most well-known Buddhist scripture is the Tripitaka, also known as the Pali Canon, which contains the teachings of the Buddha. It is divided into three sections: the Vinaya Pitaka (rules for monastic discipline), the Sutta Pitaka (discourses of the Buddha), and the Abhidhamma Pitaka (philosophical analysis).

Islam, on the other hand, has the Quran as its primary scripture. Muslims believe it to be the literal word of Allah, revealed to Muhammad over a period of 23 years. The Quran covers various aspects of life, including guidance on morality, social justice, and personal conduct. Additionally, Muslims also refer to the Hadith, which are collections of sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad, providing further guidance for Muslims.

Views on the Afterlife

In Buddhism, the concept of the afterlife is closely tied to the cycle of reincarnation. Buddhists believe in the existence of multiple realms or planes of existence, including heavenly realms, human realm, animal realm, and hell realms. The specific realm one is reborn into is determined by their karma, the consequences of their actions in previous lives. The ultimate goal in Buddhism is to break free from this cycle of rebirth and attain Nirvana, a state of liberation and enlightenment.

Islam, on the other hand, believes in the Day of Judgment, where individuals will be resurrected and held accountable for their actions in this life. Muslims believe in the existence of heaven (Jannah) and hell (Jahannam). The righteous will be rewarded with eternal paradise, while the wicked will face punishment in hell. Islam emphasizes the importance of leading a righteous life to secure a place in paradise.


While Buddhism and Islam differ in their origins, beliefs, and practices, both religions offer spiritual guidance and teachings to their followers. Buddhism focuses on personal spiritual development and the attainment of enlightenment, while Islam emphasizes submission to the will of Allah and the importance of righteous living. Despite their differences, both religions provide frameworks for individuals to find meaning, purpose, and moral guidance in their lives.

Comparisons may contain inaccurate information about people, places, or facts. Please report any issues.