Puritans and Muslims: What They Have in Common

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“Allahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar.” “God is Great. God is Great”. These are the words which every Muslim is required to chant several times a day. The same notion of God’s greatness is also portrayed in Puritan life. The Puritans are a people of religious fervor and strict adherence to the Bible who, without doubt, looked to God in every facet of their life. It is human nature to relate to things we know in order to make sense of the topic at hand. After recently studying Puritan texts, I feel that they express some of the same ideas as the Muslims. Some of the ideas include a sense of community, a contract with God, the notion of fear, and the removal of material goods. The ideas from John Winthrop’s from “A City Upon a Hill”, Anne Bradstreet’s “Verses Upon the Burning of Our House”, Edmund Morgan’s The Puritan Dilemma, and Arthur Miller’s The Crucible all express similar ideas to those of the Muslims. The Muslims have allowed me to create a better understanding of the Puritan ideology present in the gambit of Puritan texts. I understand that the power of religion is a unifying force which can lead to a decline in society. The idea of a united community is a concept that both the Muslims and Puritans share. In Wintrhop’s sermon he says, “we must be knit together in this work as one man… commerce together, rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together.” Winthrop hoped that religion would help unite the Puritan community by forcing its members to indulge in the same religious ideology. This is similar to the Muslim practice of coming together in order to pray to Allah. The Quran states that people should, “strive together…Towards all that is good,” and that, “Allah will bring you Together,” (2:148). Muslims from all around the world participate in a pilgrimage to Mecca, also known as the Hajj. The Hajj proved to be a positive fixation for the growth of civilization as it fostered a unified religious society. The ancient tradition helps make sense of Winthrop’s sermon “A City Upon a Hill”. The Puritans wanted to unite their community, but had to have everyone devoted to their plan. Therefore they called for everyone to unite and pray to God on the “City Upon A Hill”.

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