Judaism and Islam
Sociologists suggest that one of the purposes of religion is to explain basic life events, such as birth, puberty, marriage, and death. Consequently, some rituals are likely to be universal events for most cultures. Two such rituals involve naming the infant after birth and burial of the person who has died. During the naming of the infant, there is often some type of rite that dedicates the infant to some deity. With regard to funerals, most religions appear to suggest that there is some type of transformation that occurs when an individual dies. The transformation may simply be a type of transportation to another world that can only be entered through death or the actual transformation into another existence as a person. The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast the naming ritual and the funeral practices of the religions of Judaism and Islam.
The naming of the infant in the Muslim religion is an important event. On the seventh day after the infant’s birth, the mother whispers the call to prayer and the name into her child’s ear. The purpose of this is to inform the infant of his or her name and to inform the child that he or she is a Muslim. A more formal event takes place in a few weeks when the infant is named in public. The parents hold a celebration involving a religious leader. The parents hold the baby in the center of the room, while the religious leader whispers prayers and name into the child’s ears. There is a ceremony that the leader leads the group in to finish this ritual.
In Judaism, the naming of the infant is also a special event. The infant is given a secular name and a Hebrew name. Prayers are said that devote the child’s life to Judaism.