In the Name of Almighty God, The Merciful, The Compassionate

بسم لله الرحمان الرحيم

Salaam Aleikum (Peace be with you)! I hope you may gain some insight from my work here. Remember, I'm not a scholar and don't claim to be. I only claim to be a person who has a passion for both Islam and this great republic in which I live and wish to share my thoughts with others. Remember that anything good you find in this blog is from Allah, and anything wrong or bad is from my own flawed self.

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The Holy Ka'aba

The Holy Ka'aba
The House of God built by Abraham (peace be upon him)

The Pledge of Allegiance

The Pledge of Allegiance
take out the 9th line, and it would be haram (forbidden) to say this.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Muslim & Christian Unity

بسم لله الرحمان الرحيم
In the name of God, the gracious, the most merciful. All praise be to Almighty God who has rendered us the keepers and protectors of his Earth. All praise be to he that created us into nations and tribes so that we may come to know one another in peace, love, and appreciation. All praise be to he that sent us the prophets whom we take as our examples, among them being Moses, Abraham, David, Solomon, John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, and Muhammad, may peace and blessings be on them all. Assalaamu Aleikum, peace be unto you.
As a Muslim who spent most of his life in a Christian environment, the relationship between Muslims and Christians is an issue that is very near and dear to me. It is a relationship that unfortunately today tends to be an uneasy one. This fact is something that sickens my soul, and I long to do whatever I can, in my small role in this big world, to try to mend the fence that divides us, and to indeed make that fence a more transparent one and one with more gates. While there most certainly are definite theological differences that separate Muslims and Christians, most of the fundamental principles of love for humanity, love for peace, and cooperation for the better good are absolutely the same. In this entry I will, God willing, demonstrate through our respective scripture how and why this is possible, and also discuss ideas that I have about how Muslims and Christians today can work together to fight the biggest threats to our world today.
It should be well known to Christians that the message of Jesus Christ, peace be upon him, as recorded in the Bible is one of peace, and love for humanity. In Matthew 5:9 it says "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." Also in Mathew 22:36-40, Jesus Christ, The messiah, peace be upon him, when asked by the Pharisees what the greatest commandment was he replied, " Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." This clearly illustrates that one of the primary messages of Jesus Christ, as recorded in the Bible, is the love and worship of Almighty God, and of loving your neighbor, or fellow man, as yourself, and I will challenge any Muslim who would refute that.
Islam, however, is a faith tradition that in the west, is not so commonly associated with these principles, even though they are fundamental to the faith. The prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, viewed all human beings as having basic fundamental rights to be treated with peace and love. In one instance a funeral procession for a Jewish man passed by Muhammad (pbuh) and he stood in respect. His companions asked why he did this given that the man was a Jew, and he, the prophet, responded, " Is it not still a human soul?". The prophet also had a Jewish neighbor who hated him. This man hated the prophet so much that he left trash on the prophet's doorstep every day. One day the prophet found no trash, and wondering why there was no trash, he went to his neighbor to investigate. He found that his neighbor was ill and actually on his death bed. The prophet, in his love for this brother in humanity, stayed by his bedside and tended to him until his death. The Qur'an says about human unity, "O humankind! We created you from a single pair of a male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know and deal with each other in kindness (not that you may despise each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of God (is he who is) the most righteous of you, and God is All Knowing, and All Aware." The Qur'an also states, "Oh mankind, your God is one, your father is one. All of you are related to Adam and Adam was made of dust". This verse indicates that all mankind are of the same origin, and therefore equally entitled to basic human liberties. When it comes to the relationship between Muslims and Christians specifically, prophet Muhammad said this in his letter to the monks of the Saint Catherine monastery.
“This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them.
Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them. No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate. No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray. Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).”
This, praise be to Almighty God, is the attitude that I pray all Muslims and Christians can take towards each other. In this day in age we face so many issues that threaten the spiritual integrity of our world. All our hearts ache at the sight of children living in poverty, our hearts ache over seeing women widowed and children orphaned in wars fought over mere points of view, our hearts ache at the sight corrupt leadership than does nothing but divide us over petty differences, our hearts ache over the lack of respect for God in American public life, and we long to see "One Nation Under God" mean something again. I call out to all of my brothers and sisters in Islam, as well those Christians whom all I call my countrymen, friends, family, and allies to recognize in each other, as the two biggest faith traditions in the world, the immense potential that exists to bring about positive change in our communities, our country, and our world. So that the next time we hear a minister, a priest, or a shiekh or imam speak of us as enemies, we can know in heart of hearts, and in the elegant speech of our examples in Jesus Christ and the prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon them), that enemies we are not, but we are allies in the cause of Allah (God).
... And Allah Knows Best...

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