Under the guidance of Pope John Paul II the Catholic Church provided significant leadership in promoting peace, justice and harmony among religions. Now the new Pope, the most revered figure in the Catholic world, infallible to his followers and the representative of God to his co-religionist is choosing a path of dialogue with Muslims that seems disturbing.
In a recent speech he decided to quote a 14 century monarch in his argument about Jihad. The quote of the emperor was a political statement within the context of his relations with the emerging Ottoman dynasty, not worthy of giving any credibility. Yet, the Pope chose to repeat it.
If the speech writers of Pope Benedict XVI had looked at a book the "Spread of Islam in the World: A History of Peaceful Preaching", written by a prominent 19th century historian Professor Thomas Arnold, they might not have quoted the passage of the emperor.
Stronger than the book are the words of Prophet Muhammad himself with regard to Christianity. In 628 CE he sent a charter of freedom to the monks of St. Catherine Monastery in Mt. Sinai. If Pope Benedict XVI or his speech writers had looked at this document they would have found a different image of the Prophet.
This document consisted of several clauses covering all aspects of human rights including such topics as the protection of Christians living under Islamic rule, freedom of worship and movement, freedom to appoint their own judges and to own and maintain their property, exemption from military service, and the right to protection in war.
Here is the letter written to the monks. This letter was written at a time when no one was talking about freedom of religion, pluralism or protection of human life.
"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)."*
*The English translated text of the Charter of Privileges was extracted from the Book 'Muslim History: 570 - 1950 C.E.' by Dr. A. Zahoor and Dr. Z. Haq, ZMD Corporation. P.O. Box 8231 - Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8231 - Copyright Akram Zahoor 2000. P. 167.
Saint Catherine Monastery Background
Saint Catherine Monastery is located in Egypt's Sani desert. Saint Catherine city is famous for its various sites, e.g. Firon village. Firon is considered a garden rich with the best kinds of fruits of special taste, such as apricots, peach and cantaloupe in addition to the best kind of olives. Furthermore, the city houses Maktab Valleys that is located near Maghara Valleys, besides thousands of unique historical engravings.
Saint Catherine area encompasses many significant sites including al-Tarfas site that dates back to more than 30,000 years, and abu-Madis site that dates back to 10,000 years. The latter enjoys a world-wide fame, particularly among specialists, as it witnessed one of the major civilizational transformations from hunting and shooting to agriculture and grazing.
In addition, Saint Catherine area is famous for the matchless locations of residential villages, dating back to thousands of years. These villages include Prophet Saleh's (PBUH) site, that is called al-Marwas, Sheikh Mohsens site, and Sheikh Awwads site.
The Monastery was built in the 6th century A.D or the 4th century A.D., according to some sources. It is located at the foot of Mount Sinai on one of Wadi al-Sheikhs branches, and rises about 5012 feet above sea level. In 545 A.D, the Monastery was constructed by King Postilianos as a fortress for Sinai monks. It comprises several monuments that presumably date back to the Christ's era. In addition, the monastery houses a large library that is south of the big Church.
It consists of three adjacent rooms and which comprises about 6000 old historical, geographical and philosophic manuscripts, written in Greek, Syriac and Arabic.
Many of the monastery manuscripts were written in different languages other than Arabic. As for most of the Christian heritage, it was written in Arabic, especially the copies of the Old Testament and the New Testament (The Bible).
With the help of the Metropolitan Museum of New York, a new museum has been recently inaugurated inside Saint Catherine Monastery. The new museum houses distinguished collections of rare books and volumes written in Greek, Coptic, Syriac, Latin and Arabic, and they date back to the first seven centuries A.D.
Among the major acquisitions is an important document, dating back to the year 2 A.H. It is al-'Ohda al-Mohamadeyas; a document signed by Prophet Muhammad , to guarantee full protection for the monastery and Egypt's Christians. In 625 AD, the Popes of the old monastery went to Prophet Muhammad in Al-Madina, for discussion. The result of this discussion was this document.
Fortunately, all these acquisitions and monumental treasures were kept in a dry clean weather in the heart of Sinai desert for long centuries. Thus, they are still in a good condition. Furthermore, the monastery is notable for being a huge artistic, historic and religious wealth, including Bizantine icons that were painted by the monastery monks, dating back to the period from the 6th to the 9th centuries A.D.
In addition, it houses several other historical manuscripts that serve as references about emperors, chief monks, leaders and sultans. All these manuscripts date back to the period from the 4th to the 7th centuries A.D. Among the treasures found in the library is the time-honored Syriac-registers that dates back to the year 400 A.D that was rewritten during the 7th and 8th centuries. Collections of manuscripts that total about 5000 copies are preserved in the library, dating back to the early years after the invention of printing.
It goes without saying that the document of al-O'hda al-Mohamadeias, signed by Prophet Muhammad , is one of the most significant acquisitions in the library.
Dr. Aslam Abdullah is Editor-in-Chief of the Muslim Observer, director of the Islamic society of Nevada, Las Vegas and acting president of the Muslim Council of America, a Washington-based newly formed groups of Muslim activists.
Please can you send any facts about it.
This is how International politics looks like, its an ugly old dirty politics.
Interesting article, and many should read this. I do agree with Khan whenever he put examples about pope. He basically said exactly what he wanted to say about the Muslims. Yes, I can remember seeing reports about the pope on the bbc news channel, and even some news channels here in Ottawa. I agree that before people say anything about anyone, they need to do research first. What the pope said about our beloved Prophet was uncalled for. If you really listened to his so-called apology, he really did not apologize. He wanted to jump on the band wagon with the rest of the world.
I, like many other Muslims, are willing to live in peace with others. But, I am afraid that others are not so willing to live in peace with me.
To all my Muslim brothers and sisters from the East to the West, have a Blessed Ramadan.
I have given my various responses to the views of the non Muslim e-mail writers in the other articles particularly the one on " Pope's speech on faith and reason " and I shall give mine here.
Of course I don't have to repeat the events that led to anger in the Muslim world. And the Pope has apologises many times, explaining that he has the highest respect for Islam. A lot of water has flown under the bridge these past few weeks, but on the same score I believe that Muslims should accept the pontiff's apology in good faith.
On the view that Islam was spread by the sword, I had replied and rebutted these many times earlier in my e-mail responses in the previous article of " Pope's speech on faith and reason ". If we trace back through the pages of the world history, we can see that the emergence of other empires after the Muslim empire which had used equal force as well.
There is a saying that " The sun never sets in the British empire ". The British had extended their empires deep in the far East, until the Pacific and the Indian ocean. Along with their system of government, they brought their gospel as well. In fact in some countries, the education system were styled on the Anglican faith, churches and missionaries schols were constructed to meet this end.
The Portuguese and the Dutch did the same. And so do the Spanish, when they went on an expansionary mission to South America. They searched for " gold and glory " while spreading their gospel to the Incans and the Mayans as well.
Why is it then that it was only the expansion of the Muslim empire that met a bias perception i.e the view that just because Islamic empire expanded then the Islamic faith was said to be spread by force ? I am not saying that Christianity was spread by cannons and guns but if we are to apply the same standards from factual history, then that must be so the case too.
I shall write more later. Wassalam,
No. it's not actions of Islams now.
it's just the reaction for the Pope's wrong Actions.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) protected the rights of those of other religions, and if the pope would've read his letter, perhaps he would've had a different opinion.
All this does is awakens us to the realization that everyone, including the pope is a victim of ignorance, and sadder yet holds such power and influence. We all need to be better educated about the religions of the world.
Christianity has always preached love and now this Pope is preaching anti-semitism and hatred towards muslims.
1)He was in Nazi's Hitler's youth army but developed warmth towards Jews lately(shifting his hatred towards Muslims).
2)In his welcome address and ceremony he adrressed by calling Fellow Catholics,other christians and Jews(did not mention Muslims).
3)He made statement that Islam had difficulty in adapting to modern life.
4)he opposed the admission of Turkey into EU saying ,Turkey is secular but muslim and should seek its future in association of Islamic Nations as EU has Christian roots, that its admission would be a grave error against the tide of history.
I got all these from reliable western websites (eg.bbc news and other).Just type his name or Nazi Pope and click search)
He was purposely elected by western governments- warleader/warlovers looking his past,so he can join neoconservative evangelists and join the war on Islam.
He must apolagise and make a statement in mass and in the same place that he said was not true and he takes full responsibilty for reading such quotes.
Christians beleive that Muslims are againist
their religion because the current conflicts that have brought on Muslims. May Allah help us and guidance us.
and our umma lived by it as well.
slander is more cruel than killing
and I am sure if he could have known what Muhammad was and if had a commod sense, he should have been ashamed of what he did.
I dont need his apology..but to God..coz he has insulted God's religion.
he could erase christians's sins but he is human can error everytime. it doesnt mean he is always right!!!
Jihad is perfectly alright in every single sense.
The Quran, true to it's worth, described about all the same religion brought by all the Prophets. I would like to invite every breathing Christians today to listen to this verse from the Quran about what "true" Jesus said. I want every Christian to read it with an open heart and repent.
5:72 They do blaspheme who say: "(Allah) is Christ the son of Mary." But said Christ: "O Children of Israel! worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord." Whoever joins other gods with Allah,- Allah will forbid him the garden, and the Fire will be his abode. There will for the wrong-doers be no one to help.
Everything avbout Christianity brought by Jesus is in the Quran. It is documented and proven.
Otherwaise it will heavly affect on them.
For now, this article, considering the present situation, is top priority to be published in TIME and other similar magazines.
but there will always be resistance to foreign occupation from the natives. no matter who is who.
muslims are waiting for Jesus (PBUH) to come back and will join him and stand with him.
Last time Jews gave him lot of suffering and got his buddies killed, but everyone should be confident that when Jesus (PBUH) comes this time 1.3 billion strong muslim world will be with him and will not let anyone hurt him a bit.
We Muslims must work in unison towards getting our act together and getting our religious belief into practice. Our religious and community leaders should stop wasting time and energy on White House Iftar parties and photo-ops at the Interfaith junkets - instead they should speak out for truth and justice.
And when moral imperatives are no longer important - it is futile to expect from the West's political or religious leaders to change their outlook towards practicing Muslims in particular and other practicing religious communities in general.
A Pope is not just "infallible" as in a perfect person. MANY Popes have made serious mistakes and behaved badly. However event he Popes I would call tyrants did NOT change doctrine of teh Catholic Church.
There is a HUGE misunderstanding of what infallibility means for the Pope. It is for the holder of the office of Pope not necesarily the person. It is how we can be sure what we are taught is truth and free from doctrinal error.