Muslims are more likely than Christians and Hindus to perform good deeds because of their religion, according to a recent poll from British research company Ipsos-Mori.
The survey found that Muslims are most likely to say their faith encouraged and supported them to engage in charity partly because of how believers view figures within their religions.
The connection Muslims feel with the prophet Mohammed may exceed the connection Christians feel with Jesus Christ, according to experts who reviewed the study.
"When a Muslim is fasting or is asked to give charity or behave in a certain way, he is constantly reminded of the example set by the prophet many centuries ago," Akbar Ahmed, Pakistani author and diplomat, told CNN.
Akbar noted that in his broad research throughout the Maghreb, Arabia, Middle East and elsewhere, Muslims unequivocally answered “Mohammed” when asked to name their role model.
It is unknown how many Christians in predominantly Christian areas like Africa and the Americas would answer “Jesus” to the same question.
The most popular Christian role model in the U.S. – according to U.S. Christians - may not be Jesus Christ, but is more likely a person who promotes Christianity through uniquely large platforms; people like pastors Joel Osteen and Rick Warren, and football player Tim Tebow.
The dichotomy that exists between how the American society views faith and how the Islamic world views faith is another reason why Muslims are more likely to be inspired by their religion, according to sources.
Islamic expert Azyumardi Azri claims that Muslims identify with the culture and faith in part because of the contrast presented by Christianity. It’s a way of carving out an identity, and it instills stronger bonds within the Muslim community.
"When they confront the West that they perceive or misperceive as morally in decline, many Muslims feel that Islam is the best way of life. Islam for them is the only salvation," Azri told CNN.
There are dozens of Christian nations whose identity is linked to faith. Sub-Saharan African nations like Zimbabwe, Uganda and Nigeria have all claimed Christianity as a national identity, and have used religion to influence law and social mores.
In the U.S., where religion influences but legally cannot alter law, national and cultural identity is carved out from other factors.
The poll does recognize a correlation between how believers feel about their faith and how engaged they are in public service as a direct result. It does not, however, prove that faith causes practitioners to be charitable.
The Ipsos-Mori survey was released this summer.