In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
On the Occasion of the Eid al-Fitr al-Mubarak 1428 A.H. / October 13th 2007 C.E., and on the One Year Anniversary of the Open Letter of 38 Muslim Scholars to H.H. Pope Benedict XVI,
An Open Letter and Call from Muslim Religious Leaders to:
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI,
His All-Holiness Bartholomew I, Patriarch of Constantinople, New Rome,
His Beatitude Theodoros II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa,
His Beatitude Ignatius IV, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East,
His Beatitude Theophilos III, Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem,
His Beatitude Alexy II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia,
His Beatitude Pavle, Patriarch of Belgrade and Serbia,
His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of Romania,
His Beatitude Maxim, Patriarch of Bulgaria,
His Beatitude Ilia II, Archbishop of Mtskheta-Tbilisi, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia,
His Beatitude Chrisostomos, Archbishop of Cyprus,
His Beatitude Christodoulos, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece,
His Beatitude Sawa, Metropolitan of Warsaw and All Poland,
His Beatitude Anastasios, Archbishop of Tirana, Duerres and All Albania,
His Beatitude Christoforos, Metropolitan of the Czech and Slovak Republics,
His Holiness Pope Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa on the Apostolic Throne of St. Mark,
His Beatitude Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians,
His Beatitude Ignatius Zakka I, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Supreme Head of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church,
His Holiness Mar Thoma Didymos I, Catholicos of the East on the Apostolic Throne of St. Thomas and the Malankara Metropolitan,
His Holiness Abune Paulos, Fifth Patriarch and Catholicos of Ethiopia, St. Tekle Haymanot, Archbishop of Axium,
His Beatitude Mar Dinkha IV, Patriarch of the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East,
The Most Rev. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury,
Rev. Mark S. Hanson, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and President of the Lutheran World Federation,
Rev. George H. Freeman, General Secretary, World Methodist Council,
Rev. David Coffey, President of the Baptist World Alliance,
Rev. Setri Nyomi, General Secretary of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches,Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia, General Secretary, World Council of Churches,
And Leaders of Christian Churches, everywhere...
A Common Word between Us and You
(Summary and Abridgement)
Muslims and Christians together make up well over half of the world's population. Without peace and justice between these two religious communities, there can be no meaningful peace in the world. The future of the world depends on peace between Muslims and Christians.
The basis for this peace and understanding already exists. It is part of the very foundational principles of both faiths: love of the One God, and love of the neighbour. These principles are found over and over again in the sacred texts of Islam and Christianity. The Unity of God, the necessity of love for Him, and the necessity of love of the neighbour is thus the common ground between Islam and Christianity. The following are only a few examples:
Of God's Unity, God says in the Holy Qur'an: Say: He is God, the One! / God, the Self-Sufficient Besought of all! (Al-Ikhlas, 112:1-2). Of the necessity of love for God, God says in the Holy Qur'an: So invoke the Name of thy Lord and devote thyself to Him with a complete devotion (Al-Muzzammil, 73:8). Of the necessity of love for the neighbour, the Prophet Muhammad r said: "None of you has faith until you love for your neighbour what you love for yourself."
In the New Testament, Jesus Christ u said:'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. / And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment. / And the second, like it, is this:'You shall love your neighbour as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:29-31)
In the Holy Qur'an, God Most High enjoins Muslims to issue the following call to Christians (and Jews-the People of the Scripture):
Say: O People of the Scripture! Come to a common word between us and you: that we shall worship none but God, and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside God. And if they turn away, then say: Bear witness that we are they who have surrendered (unto Him). (Aal'Imran 3:64)
The words: we shall ascribe no partner unto Him relate to the Unity of God, and the words: worship none but God, relate to being totally devoted to God. Hence they all relate to the First and Greatest Commandment. According to one of the oldest and most authoritative commentaries on the Holy Qur'an the words: that none of us shall take others for lords beside God, mean'that none of us should obey the other in disobedience to what God has commanded'. This relates to the Second Commandment because justice and freedom of religion are a crucial part of love of the neighbour.
Thus in obedience to the Holy Qur'an, we as Muslims invite Christians to come together with us on the basis of what is common to us, which is also what is most essential to our faith and practice: the Two Commandments of love.
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful,
And may peace and blessings be upon the Prophet Muhammad
A COMMON WORD BETWEEN US AND YOU
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful,
Call unto the way of thy Lord with wisdom and fair exhortation, and contend with them in the fairest way. Lo! thy Lord is Best Aware of him who strayeth from His way, and He is Best Aware of those who go aright.
(The Holy Qur'an, Al-Nahl, 16:125)
(I) LOVE OF GOD
LOVE OF GOD IN ISLAM
The Testimonies of Faith
The central creed of Islam consists of the two testimonies of faith or Shahadahs, which state that: There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God. These Two Testimonies are the sine qua non of Islam. He or she who testifies to them is a Muslim; he or she who denies them is not a Muslim. Moreover, the Prophet Muhammad r said: The best remembrance is:'There is no god but God'...
The Best that All the Prophets have Said
Expanding on the best remembrance, the Prophet Muhammad r also said: The best that I have said-myself, and the prophets that came before me-is:'There is no god but God, He Alone, He hath no associate, His is the sovereignty and His is the praise and He hath power over all things'iii. The phrases which follow the First Testimony of faith are all from the Holy Qur'an; each describe a mode of love of God, and devotion to Him.
The words: He Alone, remind Muslims that their heartsiv must be devoted to God Alone, since God says in the Holy Qur'an: God hath not assigned unto any man two hearts within his body (Al-Ahzab, 33:4). God is Absolute and therefore devotion to Him must be totally sincere.
The words: He hath no associate, remind Muslims that they must love God uniquely, without rivals within their souls, since God says in the Holy Qur'an: Yet there are men who take rivals unto God: they love them as they should love God. But those of faith are more intense in their love for God ... (Al-Baqarah, 2:165). Indeed, [T]heir flesh and their hearts soften unto the remembrance of God ... (Al-Zumar, 39:23).
The words: His is the sovereignty, remind Muslims that their minds or their understandings must be totally devoted to God, for the sovereignty is precisely everything in creation or existence and everything that the mind can know. And all is in God's Hand, since God says in the Holy Qur'an: Blessed is He in Whose Hand is the sovereignty, and, He is Able to do all things (Al-Mulk, 67:1).
The words: His is the praise remind Muslims that they must be grateful to God and trust Him with all their sentiments and emotions. God says in the Holy Qur'an:
And if thou wert to ask them: Who created the heavens and the earth, and constrained the sun and the moon (to their appointed work)? they would say: God. How then are they turned away ? / God maketh the provision wide for whom He will of His servants, and straiteneth it for whom (He will). Lo! God is Aware of all things. / And if thou wert to ask them: Who causeth water to come down from the sky, and therewith reviveth the earth after its death ? they verily would say: God. Say: Praise be to God! But most of them have no sense. (Al-'Ankabut, 29:61-63)v
For all these bounties and more, human beings must always be truly grateful:
God is He Who created the heavens and the earth, and causeth water to descend from the sky, thereby producing fruits as food for you, and maketh the ships to be of service unto you, that they may run upon the sea at His command, and hath made of service unto you the rivers; / And maketh the sun and the moon, constant in their courses, to be of service unto you, and hath made of service unto you the night and the day./ And He giveth you of all ye ask of Him, and if ye would count the graces of God ye cannot reckon them. Lo! man is verily a wrong-doer, an ingrate. (Ibrahim, 14:32-34)vi
Indeed, the Fatihah-which is the greatest chapter in the Holy Qur'an-starts with praise to God:
In the Name of God, the Infinitely Good, the All-Merciful. /
Praise be to God, the Lord of the worlds. /
The Infinitely Good, the All-Merciful. /
Owner of the Day of Judgement. /
Thee we worship, and Thee we ask for help. /
Guide us upon the straight path. /
The path of those on whom is Thy Grace, not those who deserve anger nor those who are astray. (Al-Fatihah, 1:1-7)
The Fatihah, recited at least seventeen times daily by Muslims in the canonical prayers, reminds us of the praise and gratitude due to God for His Attributes of Infinite Goodness and All-Mercifulness, not merely for His Goodness and Mercy to us in this life but ultimately, on the Day of Judgementviii when it matters the most and when we hope to be forgiven for our sins. It thus ends with prayers for grace and guidance, so that we might attain-through what begins with praise and gratitude- salvation and love, for God says in the Holy Qur'an: Lo! those who believe and do good works, the Infinitely Good will appoint for them love. (Maryam, 19:96)
The words: and He hath power over all things, remind Muslims that they must be mindful of God's Omnipotence and thus fear Godix. God says in the Holy Qur'an:
... [A]nd fear God, and know that God is with the God-fearing. / Spend your wealth for the cause of God, and be not cast by your own hands to ruin; and do good. Lo! God loveth the virtuous. / ... (Al-Baqarah, 2:194-5)...
[A]nd fear God, and know that God is severe in punishment. (Al-Baqarah, 2:196)
Through fear of God, the actions, might and strength of Muslims should be totally devoted to God. God says in the Holy Qur'an:
...[A]nd know that God is with those who fear Him. (Al-Tawbah, 9:36) ...
O ye who believe! What aileth you that when it is said unto you: Go forth in the way of God, ye are bowed down to the ground with heaviness. Take ye pleasure in the life of the world rather than in the Hereafter ? The comfort of the life of the world is but little in the Hereafter. / If ye go not forth He will afflict you with a painful doom, and will choose instead of you a folk other than you. Ye cannot harm Him at all. God is Able to do all things. (Al-Tawbah, 9:38-39)
The words: His is the sovereignty and His is the praise and He hath power over all things, when taken all together, remind Muslims that just as everything in creation glorifies God, everything that is in their souls must be devoted to God:
All that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth glorifieth God; His is the sovereignty and His is the praise and He hath power over all things. (Al-Taghabun, 64:1)
For indeed, all that is in people's souls is known, and accountable, to God:
He knoweth all that is in the heavens and the earth, and He knoweth what ye conceal and what ye publish. And God is Aware of what is in the breasts (of men). (Al-Taghabun, 64:4)
As we can see from all the passages quoted above, souls are depicted in the Holy Qur'an as having three main faculties: the mind or the intelligence, which is made for comprehending the truth; the will which is made for freedom of choice, and sentiment which is made for loving the good and the beautifulx. Put in another way, we could say that man's soul knows through understanding the truth, through willing the good, and through virtuous emotions and feeling love for God. Continuing in the same chapter of the Holy Qur'an (as that quoted above), God orders people to fear Him as much as possible, and to listen (and thus to understand the truth); to obey (and thus to will the good), and to spend (and thus to exercise love and virtue), which, He says, is better for our souls. By engaging everything in our souls-the faculties of knowledge, will, and love-we may come to be purified and attain ultimate success:
So fear God as best ye can, and listen, and obey, and spend; that is better for your souls. And those who are saved from the pettiness of their own souls, such are the successful. (Al-Taghabun, 64:16)
In summary then, when the entire phrase He Alone, He hath no associate, His is the sovereignty and His is the praise and He hath power over all things is added to the testimony of faith-There is no god but God-it reminds Muslims that their hearts, their individual souls and all the faculties and powers of their souls (or simply their entire hearts and souls) must be totally devoted and attached to God. Thus God says to the Prophet Muhammad r in the Holy Qur'an:
Say: Lo! my worship and my sacrifice and my living and my dying are for God, Lord of the Worlds. / He hath no partner. This am I commanded, and I am first of those who surrender (unto Him). / Say: Shall I seek another than God for Lord, when He is Lord of all things? Each soul earneth only on its own account, nor doth any laden bear another's load... (Al-An'am, 6:162-164)
These verses epitomize the Prophet Muhammad's r complete and utter devotion to God. Thus in the Holy Qur'an God enjoins Muslims who truly love God to follow this examplexi, in order in turn to be lovedxii by God:
Say, (O Muhammad, to mankind): If ye love God, follow me; God will love you and forgive you your sins. God is Forgiving, Merciful. (Aal'Imran, 3:31)
Love of God in Islam is thus part of complete and total devotion to God; it is not a mere fleeting, partial emotion. As seen above, God commands in the Holy Qur'an: Say: Lo! my worship and my sacrifice and my living and my dying are for God, Lord of the Worlds. / He hath no partner. The call to be totally devoted and attached to God heart and soul, far from being a call for a mere emotion or for a mood, is in fact an injunction requiring all-embracing, constant and active love of God. It demands a love in which the innermost spiritual heart and the whole of the soul-with its intelligence, will and feeling-participate through devotion.
None Comes with Anything Better
We have seen how the blessed phrase: There is no god but God, He Alone, He hath no associate, His is the sovereignty and His is the praise and He hath power over all things-which is the best that all the prophets have said-makes explicit what is implicit in the best remembrance (There is no god but God) by showing what it requires and entails, by way of devotion. It remains to be said that this blessed formula is also in itself a sacred invocation-a kind of extension of the First Testimony of faith (There is no god but God)-the ritual repetition of which can bring about, through God's grace, some of the devotional attitudes it demands, namely, loving and being devoted to God with all one's heart, all one's soul, all one's mind, all one's will or strength, and all one's sentiment. Hence the Prophet Muhammad r commended this remembrance by saying:
He who says:'There is no god but God, He Alone, He hath no associate, His is the sovereignty and His is the praise and He hath power over all things' one hundred times in a day, it is for them equal to setting ten slaves free, and one hundred good deeds are written for them and one hundred bad deeds are effaced, and it is for them a protection from the devil for that day until the evening. And none offers anything better than that, save one who does more than that.xiii
In other words, the blessed remembrance, There is no god but God, He Alone, He hath no associate, His is the sovereignty and His is the praise and He hath power over all things, not only requires and implies that Muslims must be totally devoted to God and love Him with their whole hearts and their whole souls and all that is in them, but provides a way, like its beginning (the testimony of faith)-through its frequent repetitionxiv-for them to realize this love with everything they are.
God says in one of the very first revelations in the Holy Qur'an: So invoke the Name of thy Lord and devote thyself to Him with a complete devotion (Al-Muzzammil, 73:8). ^
LOVE OF GOD AS THE FIRST AND GREATEST COMMANDMENT IN THE BIBLE
The Shema in the Book of Deuteronomy (6:4-5), a centrepiece of the Old Testament and of Jewish liturgy, says: Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! / You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.xv
Likewise, in the New Testament, when Jesus Christ, the Messiah u, is asked about the Greatest Commandment, he answers u:
But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. / Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, / "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" / Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' / This is the first and greatest commandment. / And the second is like it:'You shall love your neighbour as yourself.' / On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 22:34-40)
Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, "Which is the first commandment of all?" / Jesus answered him, "The first of all the commandments is:'Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. / And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment. / And the second, like it, is this:'You shall love your neighbour as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:28-31)
The commandment to love God fully is thus the First and Greatest Commandment of the Bible. Indeed, it is to be found in a number of other places throughout the Bible including: Deuteronomy 4:29, 10:12, 11:13 (also part of the Shema), 13:3, 26:16, 30:2, 30:6, 30:10; Joshua 22:5; Mark 12:32-33 and Luke 10:27-28.
However, in various places throughout the Bible, it occurs in slightly different forms and versions. For instance, in Matthew 22:37 (You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind), the Greek word for "heart" is kardia, the word for "soul" is psyche, and the word for "mind" is dianoia. In the version from Mark 12:30 (And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength) the word "strength" is added to the aforementioned three, translating the Greek word ischus.
The words of the lawyer in Luke 10:27 (which are confirmed by Jesus Christ u in Luke 10:28) contain the same four terms as Mark 12:30. The words of the scribe in Mark 12:32 (which are approved of by Jesus Christ u in Mark 12:34) contain the three terms kardia ("heart"), dianoia ("mind"), and ischus ("strength").
In the Shema of Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! / You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength). In Hebrew the word for "heart" is lev, the word for "soul" is nefesh, and the word for "strength" is me'od.
In Joshua 22:5, the Israelites are commanded by Joshua u to love God and be devoted to Him as follows:
"But take careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul." (Joshua 22:5)
What all these versions thus have in common-despite the language differences between the Hebrew Old Testament, the original words of Jesus Christ u in Aramaic, and the actual transmitted Greek of the New Testament-is the command to love God fully with one's heart and soul and to be fully devoted to Him. This is the First and Greatest Commandment for human beings.
In the light of what we have seen to be necessarily implied and evoked by the Prophet Muhammad's r blessed saying:'The best that I have said-myself, and the prophets that came before me-is:'There is no god but God, He Alone, He hath no associate, His is the sovereignty and His is the praise and He hath power over all things' xvi, we can now perhaps understand the words'The best that I have said-myself, and the prophets that came before me' as equating the blessed formula'There is no god but God, He Alone, He hath no associate, His is the sovereignty and His is the praise and He hath power over all things' precisely with the'First and Greatest Commandment' to love God, with all one's heart and soul, as found in various places in the Bible. That is to say, in other words, that the Prophet Muhammad r was perhaps, through inspiration, restating and alluding to the Bible's First Commandment. God knows best, but certainly we have seen their effective similarity in meaning. Moreover, we also do know (as can be seen in the endnotes), that both formulas have another remarkable parallel: the way they arise in a number of slightly differing versions and forms in different contexts, all of which, nevertheless, emphasize the primacy of total love and devotion to God xvii.
(II) LOVE OF THE NEIGHBOUR
LOVE OF THE NEIGHBOUR IN ISLAM
There are numerous injunctions in Islam about the necessity and paramount importance of love for-and mercy towards-the neighbour. Love of the neighbour is an essential and integral part of faith in God and love of God because in Islam without love of the neighbour there is no true faith in God and no righteousness. The Prophet Muhammad r said: "None of you has faith until you love for your brother what you love for yourself."xviiiAnd: "None of you has faith until you love for your neighbour what you love for yourself."xix
However, empathy and sympathy for the neighbour-and even formal prayers- are not enough. They must be accompanied by generosity and self-sacrifice. God says in the Holy Qur'an:
It is not righteousness that ye turn your facesxx to the East and the West; but righteous is he who believeth in God and the Last Day and the angels and the Scripture and the prophets; and giveth wealth, for love of Him, to kinsfolk and to orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and to those who ask, and to set slaves free; and observeth proper worship and payeth the poor-due. And those who keep their treaty when they make one, and the patient in tribulation and adversity and time of stress. Such are they who are sincere. Such are the pious. (Al-Baqarah 2:177)
Ye will not attain unto righteousness until ye expend of that which ye love. And whatsoever ye expend, God is Aware thereof. (Aal Imran, 3:92)
Without giving the neighbour what we ourselves love, we do not truly love God or the neighbour.
LOVE OF THE NEIGHBOUR IN THE BIBLE
We have already cited the words of the Messiah, Jesus Christ u, about the paramount importance, second only to the love of God, of the love of the neighbour:
This is the first and greatest commandment. / And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbour as yourself.' / On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 22:38-40)
And the second, like it, is this:'You shall love your neighbour as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:31)
It remains only to be noted that this commandment is also to be found in the Old Testament:
You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbour, and not bear sin because of him. / You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbour as yourself: I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:17-18)
Thus the Second Commandment, like the First Commandment, demands generosity and self-sacrifice, and On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.
(III) COME TO A COMMON WORD BETWEEN US AND YOU
A Common Word
Whilst Islam and Christianity are obviously different religions-and whilst there is no minimising some of their formal differences-it is clear that the Two Greatest Commandments are an area of common ground and a link between the Qur'an, the Torah and the New Testament. What prefaces the Two Commandments in the Torah and the New Testament, and what they arise out of, is the Unity of God-that there is only one God. For the Shema in the Torah, starts: (Deuteronomy 6:4) Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! Likewise, Jesus u said: (Mark 12:29) "The first of all the commandments is:'Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one". Likewise, God says in the Holy Qur'an: Say: He, God, is One. / God, the Self-Sufficient Besought of all. (Al-Ikhlas, 112:1-2). Thus the Unity of God, love of Him, and love of the neighbour form a common ground upon which Islam and Christianity (and Judaism) are founded.
This could not be otherwise since Jesus u said: (Matthew 22:40)"On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." Moreover, God confirms in the Holy Qur'an that the Prophet Muhammad r brought nothing fundamentally or essentially new: Naught is said to thee (Muhammad) but what already was said to the messengers before thee (Fussilat 41:43). And: Say (Muhammad): I am no new thing among the messengers (of God), nor know I what will be done with me or with you. I do but follow that which is Revealed to me, and I am but a plain warner (Al-Ahqaf, 46:9). Thus also God in the Holy Qur'an confirms that the same eternal truths of the Unity of God, of the necessity for total love and devotion to God (and thus shunning false gods), and of the necessity for love of fellow human beings (and thus justice), underlie all true religion:
And verily We have raised in every nation a messenger, (proclaiming): Worship God and shun false gods. Then some of them (there were) whom God guided, and some of them (there were) upon whom error had just hold. Do but travel in the land and see the nature of the consequence for the deniers! (Al-Nahl, 16:36)
We verily sent Our messengers with clear proofs, and revealed with them the Scripture and the Balance, that mankind may stand forth in justice... (Al-Hadid, 57:25)
Come to a Common Word!
In the Holy Qur'an, God Most High tells Muslims to issue the following call to Christians (and Jews-the People of the Scripture):
Say: O People of the Scripture! Come to a common word between us and you: that we shall worship none but God, and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside God. And if they turn away, then say: Bear witness that we are they who have surrendered (unto Him). (Aal'Imran 3:64)
Clearly, the blessed words: we shall ascribe no partner unto Him relate to the Unity of God. Clearly also, worshipping none but God, relates to being totally devoted to God and hence to the First and Greatest Commandment. According to one of the oldest and most authoritative commentaries (tafsir) on the Holy Qur'an-the Jami' Al-Bayan fi Ta'wil Al-Qur'an of Abu Ja'far Muhammad bin Jarir Al-Tabari (d. 310 A.H. / 923 C.E.)-that none of us shall take others for lords beside God, means'that none of us should obey in disobedience to what God has commanded, nor glorify them by prostrating to them in the same way as they prostrate to God'. In other words, that Muslims, Christians and Jews should be free to each follow what God commanded them, and not have'to prostrate before kings and the like'xxi; for God says elsewhere in the Holy Qur'an: Let there be no compulsion in religion... (Al-Baqarah, 2:256). This clearly relates to the Second Commandment and to love of the neighbour of which justicexxii and freedom of religion are a crucial part. God says in the Holy Qur'an:
God forbiddeth you not those who warred not against you on account of religion and drove you not out from your homes, that ye should show them kindness and deal justly with them. Lo! God loveth the just dealers. (Al-Mumtahinah, 60:8)
We thus as Muslims invite Christians to remember Jesus's u words in the Gospel (Mark 12:29-31):
... the LORD our God, the LORD is one. / And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment. / And the second, like it, is this:'You shall love your neighbour as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these.
As Muslims, we say to Christians that we are not against them and that Islam is not against them-so long as they do not wage war against Muslims on account of their religion, oppress them and drive them out of their homes, (in accordance with the verse of the Holy Qur'an [Al-Mumtahinah, 60:8] quoted above). Moreover, God says in the Holy Qur'an:
They are not all alike. Of the People of the Scripture there is a staunch community who recite the revelations of God in the night season, falling prostrate (before Him). / They believe in God and the Last Day, and enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency, and vie one with another in good works. These are of the righteous. / And whatever good they do, nothing will be rejected of them. God is Aware of those who ward off (evil). (Aal-'Imran, 3:113-115)
Is Christianity necessarily against Muslims? In the Gospel Jesus Christ u says:
He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters abroad. (Matthew 12:30)
For he who is not against us is on our side. (Mark 9:40)
... for he who is not against us is on our side. (Luke 9:50)
According to the Blessed Theophylact'sxxiii Explanation of the New Testament, these statements are not contradictions because the first statement (in the actual Greek text of the New Testament) refers to demons, whereas the second and third statements refer to people who recognised Jesus, but were not Christians. Muslims recognize Jesus Christ as the Messiah, not in the same way Christians do (but Christians themselves anyway have never all agreed with each other on Jesus Christ's u nature), but in the following way: ... the Messiah Jesus son of Mary is a Messenger of God and His Word which he cast unto Mary and a Spirit from Him.... (Al-Nisa', 4:171). We therefore invite Christians to consider Muslims not against and thus with them, in accordance with Jesus Christ's u words here.
Finally, as Muslims, and in obedience to the Holy Qur'an, we ask Christians to come together with us on the common essentials of our two religions ... that we shall worship none but God, and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside God ... (Aal'Imran, 3:64).
Let this common ground be the basis of all future interfaith dialogue between us, for our common ground is that on which hangs all the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 22:40). God says in the Holy Qur'an:
Say (O Muslims): We believe in God and that which is revealed unto us and that which was revealed unto Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which Moses and Jesus received, and that which the prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered. / And if they believe in the like of that which ye believe, then are they rightly guided. But if they turn away, then are they in schism, and God will suffice thee against them. He is the Hearer, the Knower. (Al-Baqarah, 2:136-137)
Between Us and You
Finding common ground between Muslims and Christians is not simply a matter for polite ecumenical dialogue between selected religious leaders. Christianity and Islam are the largest and second largest religions in the world and in history. Christians and Muslims reportedly make up over a third and over a fifth of humanity respectively. Together they make up more than 55% of the world's population, making the relationship between these two religious communities the most important factor in contributing to meaningful peace around the world. If Muslims and Christians are not at peace, the world cannot be at peace. With the terrible weaponry of the modern world; with Muslims and Christians intertwined everywhere as never before, no side can unilaterally win a conflict between more than half of the world's inhabitants. Thus our common future is at stake. The very survival of the world itself is perhaps at stake.
And to those who nevertheless relish conflict and destruction for their own sake or reckon that ultimately they stand to gain through them, we say that our very eternal souls are all also at stake if we fail to sincerely make every effort to make peace and come together in harmony. God says in the Holy Qur'an: Lo! God enjoineth justice and kindness, and giving to kinsfolk, and forbiddeth lewdness and abomination and wickedness. He exhorteth you in order that ye may take heed (Al Nahl, 16:90). Jesus Christ u said: Blessed are the peacemakers ...(Matthew 5:9), and also: For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul? (Matthew 16:26).
So let our differences not cause hatred and strife between us. Let us vie with each other only in righteousness and good works. Let us respect each other, be fair, just and kind to another and live in sincere peace, harmony and mutual goodwill. God says in the Holy Qur'an:
And unto thee have We revealed the Scripture with the truth, confirming whatever Scripture was before it, and a watcher over it. So judge between them by that which God hath revealed, and follow not their desires away from the truth which hath come unto thee. For each We have appointed a law and a way. Had God willed He could have made you one community. But that He may try you by that which He hath given you (He hath made you as ye are). So vie one with another in good works. Unto God ye will all return, and He will then inform you of that wherein ye differ. (Al-Ma'idah, 5:48)
2007 C.E., 1428 A.H., The Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, Jordan.
i In Arabic: La illaha illa Allah Muhammad rasul Allah. The two Shahadahs actually both occur (albeit separately) as phrases in the Holy Qur'an (in Muhammad 47:19, and Al-Fath 48:29, respectively).
ii Sunan Al-Tirmidhi, Kitab Al-Da'awat, 462/5, no. 3383; Sunan Ibn Majah, 1249/2.
iii Sunan Al-Tirmidhi, Kitab Al-Da'awat, Bab al-Du'a fi Yawm'Arafah, Hadith no. 3934.
It is important to note that the additional phrases, He Alone, He hath no associate, His is the sovereignty and His is the praise and He hath power over all things, all come from the Holy Qur'an, in exactly those forms, albeit in different passages. He Alone-referring to God Y-is found at least six times in the Holy Qur'an (7:70; 14:40; 39:45; 40:12; 40:84 and 60:4). He hath no associate, is found in exactly that form at least once (Al-An'am, 6:173). His is the sovereignty and His is the praise and He hath power over all things, is found in exactly this form once in the Holy Qur'an (Al-Taghabun, 64:1), and parts of it are found a number of other times (for instance, the words, He hath power over all things, are found at least five times: 5:120; 11:4; 30:50; 42:9 and 57:2).
iv The Heart In Islam the (spiritual, not physical) heart is the organ of perception of spiritual and metaphysical knowledge. Of one of the Prophet Muhammad's r greatest visions God says in the Holy Qur'an: The inner heart lied not (in seeing) what it saw. (al-Najm, 53:11) Indeed, elsewhere in the Holy Qur'an, God says: [F]or indeed it is not the eyes that grow blind, but it is the hearts, which are within the bosoms, that grow blind. (Al-Hajj, 22:46; see whole verse and also: 2:9-10; 2:74; 8:24; 26:88-89; 48:4; 83:14 et al.. There are in fact over a hundred mentions of the heart and its synonyms in the Holy Qur'an.)
Now there are different understandings amongst Muslims as regards the direct Vision of God (as opposed to spiritual realities as such) God, be it in this life or the next-God says in the Holy Qur'an (of the Day of Judgement):
That day will faces be resplendent, / Looking toward their Lord; (Al-Qiyamah, 75:22-23)
Yet God also says in the Holy Qur'an:
Such is God, your Lord. There is no God save Him, the Creator of all things, so worship Him. And He taketh care of all things. / Vision comprehendeth Him not, but He comprehendeth (all) vision. He is the Subtile, the Aware. / Proofs have come unto you from your Lord, so whoso seeth, it is for his own good, and whoso is blind is blind to his own hurt. And I am not a keeper over you. (Al-An'am, 6:102-104)
Howbeit, it is evident that the Muslim conception of the (spiritual) heart is not very different from the Christian conception of the (spiritual) heart, as seen in Jesus's u words in the New Testament: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (Matthew 5:8); and Paul's words: For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I am known. (1 Corinthians 13:12)
v See also: Luqman, 31:25.
vi See also: Al-Nahl, 16:3-18.
vii Sahih Bukhari, Kitab Tafsir Al-Qur'an, Bab ma Ja'a fi Fatihat Al-Kitab (Hadith no.1); also: Sahih Bukhari, Kitab Fada'il Al-Qur'an, Bab Fadl Fatihat Al-Kitab, (Hadith no.9), no. 5006.
viii The Prophet Muhammad r said:
God has one hundred mercies. He has sent down one of them between genii and human beings and beasts and animals and because of it they feel with each other; and through it they have mercy on each other; and through it, the wild animal feels for its offspring. And God has delayed ninety-nine mercies through which he will have mercy on his servants on the Day of Judgement. (Sahih Muslm, Kitab Al-Tawbah; 2109/4; no. 2752; see also Sahih Bukhari, Kitab Al-Riqaq, no. 6469).
ix Fear of God is the Beginning of Wisdom
The Prophet Muhammad r is reported to have said: The chief part of wisdom is fear of God-be He exalted (Musnad al-Shahab, 100/1; Al-Dulaymi, Musnad Al-Firdaws, 270/2; Al-Tirmidhi, Nawadir Al-Usul; 84/3; Al-Bayhaqi, Al-Dala'il and Al-Bayhaqi, Al-Shu'ab; Ibn Lal, Al-Makarim; Al-Ash'ari, Al-Amthal, et al.) This evidently is similar to the Prophet Solomon u words in the Bible: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of Wisdom ... (Proverbs 9:10); and: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge. (Proverbs 1:7)
x The Intelligence, the Will and Sentiment in the Holy Qur'an
Thus God in the Holy Qur'an tells human being to believe in Him and call on Him (thereby using the intelligence) with fear (which motivates the will) and with hope (and thus with sentiment):
Only those believe in Our revelations who, when they are reminded of them, fall down prostrate and hymn the praise of their Lord, and they are not scornful, / Who forsake their beds to cry unto their Lord in fear and hope, and spend of that We have bestowed on them. / No soul knoweth what is kept hid for them of joy, as a reward for what they used to do. (Al-Sajdah, 32:15-17)
(O mankind!) Call upon your Lord humbly and in secret. Lo! He loveth not aggressors. / Work not confusion in the earth after the fair ordering (thereof), and call on Him in fear and hope. Lo! the mercy of God is near unto the virtuous. (Al-A'raf, 7:55-56)
Likewise, the Prophet Muhammad r himself is described in terms which manifest knowledge (and hence the intelligence), eliciting hope (and hence sentiment) and instilling fear (and hence motivating the will):
O Prophet! Lo! We have sent thee as a witness and a bringer of good tidings and a warner. (Al-Ahzab, 33:45)
Lo! We have sent thee (O Muhammad) as a witness and a bearer of good tidings and a warner, (Al-Fath, 48:8)
xi A Goodly Example
The love and total devotion of the Prophet Muhammad r to God is for Muslims the model that they seek to imitate. God says in the Holy Qur'an:
Verily in the messenger of God ye have a goodly example for him who hopeth for God and the Last Day, and remembereth God much. (Al-Ahzab, 33:21)
The totality of this love excludes worldliness and egotism, and is itself beautiful and loveable to Muslims. Love of God is itself loveable to Muslims. God says in the Holy Qur'an:
And know that the messenger of God is among you. If he were to obey you in many matters, ye would surely fall into misfortune; but God hath made the faith loveable to you and hath beautified it in your hearts, and hath made disbelief and lewdness and rebellion hateful unto you. Such are they who are the rightly guided. (Al-Hujurat, 49:7)
xii This'particular love' is in addition to God's universal Mercy which embraceth all things (Al-A'raf, 7:156); but God knows best.
xiii Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitab Bad' al-Khalq, Bab Sifat Iblis wa Junudihi; Hadith no. 3329.
Other Versions of the Blessed Saying
This blessed saying of the Prophet Muhammad's r, is found in dozens of hadith (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad r) in differing contexts in slightly varying versions.
The one we have quoted throughout in the text (There is no god but God, He alone. He hath no associate. His is the sovereignty, and His is the praise, and He hath power over all things) is in fact the shortest version. It is to be found in Sahih al-Bukhari: Kitab al-Adhan (no. 852); Kitab al-Tahajjud (no. 1163); Kitab al-'Umrah (no. 1825); Kitab Bad' al-Khalq (no. 3329); Kitab al-Da'awat (nos. 6404, 6458, 6477); Kitab al-Riqaq (no. 6551); Kitab al-I'tisam bi'l-Kitab (no. 7378); in Sahih Muslim: Kitab al-Masajid (nos. 1366, 1368, 1370, 1371, 1380); Kitab al-Hajj (nos. 3009, 3343); Kitab al-Dhikr wa'l-Du'a' (nos. 7018, 7020, 7082, 7084); in Sunan Abu Dawud: Kitab al-Witr (nos. 1506, 1507, 1508); Kitab al-Jihad (no. 2772); Kitab al-Kharaj (no. 2989); Kitab al-Adab (nos. 5062, 5073, 5079); in Sunan al-Tirmidhi: Kitab al-Hajj (no. 965); Kitab al-Da'awat (nos. 3718, 3743, 3984); in Sunan al-Nasa'i: Kitab al-Sahw (nos. 1347, 1348, 1349, 1350, 1351); Kitab Manasik al-Hajj (nos. 2985, 2997); Kitab al-Iman wa'l-Nudhur (no. 3793); in Sunan Ibn Majah: Kitab al-Adab (no. 3930); Kitab al-Du'a' (nos. 4000, 4011); and in Muwatta' Malik: Kitab al-Qur'an (nos. 492, 494); Kitab al-Hajj (no. 831).
A longer version including the words yuhyi wa yumit-(There is no god but God, He alone. He hath no associate. His is the sovereignty, and His is the praise. He giveth life, and He giveth death, and He hath power over all things.)-is to be found in Sunan Abu Dawud: Kitab al-Manasik (no. 1907); in Sunan al-Tirmidhi: Kitab al-Salah (no. 300); Kitab al-Da'awat (nos. 3804, 3811, 3877, 3901); and in Sunan al-Nasa'i: Kitab Manasik al-Hajj (nos. 2974, 2987, 2998); Sunan Ibn Majah: Kitab al-Manasik (no. 3190).
Another longer version including the words bi yadihi al-khayr-(There is no god but God, He alone. He hath no associate. His is the sovereignty, and His is the praise. In His Hand is the good, and He hath power over all things.)-is to be found in Sunan Ibn Majah: Kitab al-Adab (no. 3931); Kitab al-Du'a' (no. 3994).
The longest version, which includes the words yuhyi wa yumit wa Huwa Hayyun la yamut bi yadihi al-khayr-(There is no god but God, He alone. He hath no associate. His is the sovereignty, and His is the praise. He giveth life, and He giveth death. He is the Living, who dieth not. In His Hand is the good, and He hath power over all things.)-is to be found in Sunan al-Tirmidhi: Kitab al-Da'awat (no. 3756) and in Sunan Ibn Majah: Kitab al-Tijarat (no. 2320), with the difference that this latter hadith reads: bi yadihi al-khayr kuluhu (in His Hand is all good).
It is important to note, however, that the Prophet Muhammad r, only described the first (shortest) version as: the best that I have said-myself, and the prophets that came before me, and only of that version did the Prophet r say: And none comes with anything better than that, save one who does more than that.
(These citations refer to the numbering system of The Sunna Project's Encyclopaedia of Hadith (Jam' Jawami' al-Ahadith wa'l-Asanid), prepared in cooperation with the scholars of al-Azhar, which includes Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Sunan Abu Dawud, Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Sunan al-Nasa'i, Sunan Ibn Majah, and Muwatta' Malik.)
Frequent Remembrance of God in the Holy Qur'an
The Holy Qur'an is full of injunctions to invoke or remember God frequently:
Remember the name of thy Lord at morn and evening. (Al-Insan, 76:25)
So remember God, standing, sitting and [lying] down on your sides (Al-Nisa, 4:103).
And do thou (O Muhammad) remember thy Lord within thyself humbly and with awe, below thy breath, at morn and evening. And be not thou of the neglectful (Al-'Araf, 7:205).
... Remember thy Lord much, and praise (Him) in the early hours of night and morning (Aal'Imran, 3:41).
O ye who believe! Remember God with much remembrance. / And glorify Him early and late (Al-Ahzab, 33:41-42).
(See also: 2:198-200; 2:203; 2:238-239; 3:190-191; 6:91; 7:55; 7:180; 8:45; 17:110; 22:27-41; 24:35-38; 26:227; 62:9-10; 87:1-17, et al.)
Similarly, the Holy Qur'an is full of verses that emphasize the paramount importance of the Remembrance of God (see: 2:151-7; 5:4; 6:118; 7:201; 8:2-4; 13:26-28; 14:24-27; 20:14; 20:33-34; 24:1; 29:45; 33:35; 35:10; 39:9; 50:37; 51:55-58; and 33:2; 39:22-23 and 73:8-9 as already quoted, et al. ), and the dire consequences of not practising it (see: 2:114; 4:142; 7:179-180; 18:28; 18:100-101; 20:99-101; 20:124-127; 25:18; 25:29; 43:36; 53:29; 58:19; 63:9; 72:17 et al.; see also 107:4-6). Hence God ultimately says in the Holy Qur'an:
Has not the time arrived for the believers that their hearts in all humility should engage in the remembrance of God ... ? (Al-Hadid, 57:16);
... [S]lacken not in remembrance of Me (Taha, 20:42),
and: Remember your Lord whenever you forget (Al-Kahf, 18:24).
xv Herein all Biblical Scripture is taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
xvi Sunan Al-Tirmithi, Kitab Al-Da'wat, Bab al-Du'a fi Yawm'Arafah, Hadith no. 3934. Op. cit..
In the Best Stature
Christianity and Islam have comparable conceptions of man being created in the best stature and from God's own breath. The Book of Genesis says:
(Genesis, 1:27) So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
(Genesis, 2:7) And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
And the Prophet Muhammad r said: Verily God created Adam in His own image. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitab Al-Isti'than, 1; Sahih Muslim, Kitab Al-Birr 115; Musnad Ibn Hanbal, 2: 244, 251, 315, 323 etc. et al.)
And We created you, then fashioned you, then told the angels: Fall ye prostrate before Adam! And they fell prostrate, all save Iblis, who was not of those who make prostration. (Al-A'raf, 7:11)
By the fig and the olive / By Mount Sinai, / And by this land made safe / Surely We created man of the best stature / Then We reduced him to the lowest of the low, / Save those who believe and do good works, and theirs is a reward unfailing. / So who henceforth will give the lie to the about the judgment? / Is not God the wisest of all judges? (Al-Tin, 95:1-8)
God it is Who appointed for you the earth for a dwelling-place and the sky for a canopy, and fashioned you and perfected your shapes, and hath provided you with good things. Such is God, your Lord. Then blessed be God, the Lord of the Worlds! (Al-Ghafir, 40:64)
Nay, but those who do wrong follow their own lusts without knowledge. Who is able to guide him whom God hath sent astray ? For such there are no helpers. / So set thy purpose (O Muhammad) for religion as a man by nature upright - the nature (framed) of God, in which He hath created man. There is no altering (the laws of) God's creation. That is the right religion, but most men know not-/ (Al-Rum, 30:29-30)
And when I have fashioned him and breathed into him of My Spirit, then fall down before him prostrate, (Sad, 38:72)
And when thy Lord said unto the angels: Lo! I am about to place a viceroy in the earth, they said: Wilt thou place therein one who will do harm therein and will shed blood, while we, we hymn Thy praise and sanctify Thee ? He said: Surely I know that which ye know not. / And He taught Adam all the names, then showed them to the angels, saying: Inform Me of the names of these, if ye are truthful ./ They said: Be glorified! We have no knowledge saving that which Thou hast taught us. Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Knower, the Wise. / He said: O Adam! Inform them of their names, and when he had informed them of their names, He said: Did I not tell you that I know the secret of the heavens and the earth ? And I know that which ye disclose and which ye hide. / And when We said unto the angels: Prostrate yourselves before Adam, they fell prostrate, all save Iblis. He demurred through pride, and so became a disbeliever... / And We said: O Adam! Dwell thou and thy wife in the Garden, and eat ye freely (of the fruits) thereof where ye will; but come not nigh this tree lest ye become wrong-doers. (Al-Baqarah, 2:30-35)
xviii Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Iman, Hadith no.13.
xix Sahih Muslim , Kitab al-Iman, 67-1, Hadith no.45.
xx The classical commentators on the Holy Qur'an (see: Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Tafsir Al-Jalalayn) generally agree that this is a reference to (the last movements of) the Muslim prayer.
xxi Abu Ja'far Muhammad Bin Jarir Al-Tabari, Jami' al-Bayan fi Ta'wil al-Qur'an, (Dar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, 1st ed, 1992/1412,) tafsir of Aal-'Imran, 3:64;Volume 3, pp. 299-302.
xxii According to grammarians cited by Tabari (op cit.) the word 'common' (sawa') in'a common word between us' also means 'just', 'fair' (adl).
xxiii The Blessed Theophylact (1055-1108 C.E.) was the Orthodox Archbishop of Ochrid and Bulgaria (1090-1108 C.E.). His native language was the Greek of the New Testament. His Commentary is currently available in English from Chrysostom Press.
we are for jesus ...who are u for?
but we can analyse anything deeply to see what's wrong with it:
normaly, if there is anything wrong with a doctrine of any religious book, will be seen in the practice of Governments who adopt that religion not of people seeking freedom from colonization(like Iraqis). how many Islamic governments adopted killing innocents who doesn't belong to their religion? none! not even Taliban did: they were too many buddhists and hindus under Taliban and they were not killed! I heard couple jewish, but also none killed. Taliban governed Afghanistan for 4 years in war with Northern Afghany.
unfortunatly, the neo_cons who are governing USA, adopted the doctrine of Armageddon inspired from the revelation book!(like catholic european govs did before). part of the belief of the neo_cons (who are governing the world's super power) is they are going to Iraq in one of series of wars end with Armageddon: war to defeat forces of evil and allow jesus to come back safe on Earth...
revelation book supposed to be inspired by John! where he spoke about many of his inspiring dreams!!! and today, the neo_cons read that as a dity they have, to bring back a man they call God "jesus".
it's clear if he was a god, why bother to help him? he is suppose to be able to do everything! if he is not God, just human, then why bother to bring one human by killing millions???
for you my friend, instead of looking at the facts, you are just pointing the finger wherever to justify a hate that you were raised with: a hate to the arabs, to Islam and to that "arabian Mohammad".
you forgot all the messengers came from the same father Ibraheem alaih assalam.
FACT: the bible wrote for the first time in 397.
you made your own religion, good luck :)
My respects to you for patiently bearing with me. Let me once again go to the point, this time respectfully in low tone, but to the same point.
I apologize for citing the murder of a group of people in Iraq. The citation was of wrong time- that of war. But my point was about the curiosity to know what tempered the mind of our similar featured Asian neighbors to kill defenseless civilians so horrifically. Many friends showed that such temper was planted by the doctrine of their religious book. That led me to go through the contents myself... to see for myself.
I would like to pay attention to your question whether I am a Jew or Christian or a hypocrite. To this I mention the fact without any hesitation that I Yohan Dahal am a Christian in Public (bearing the testimony of Lord Jesus Christ), Jew in heart (convinced in the things of God and having received the circumcision without hands) and a Muslim in resolve (not to yield otherwise even if some explain or prove that my stand is wrong). Let this suffice to remove confusion by earlier posting.
Regarding the Bible being written some 300 years after Christ, almost looking like a fake composition of some ambitious zealots, I straightway reject the statement. This is the main controversy. My point is that even if it was written any time just recently, it does not deal with any other subject. By very nature the Holy Bible does not glorify mortal sinners although written in the language of men of present time. Can any man compose such a book in a short while covering the true events of the past, root of present activities and guide for the future, even to the after life? Were this judgment to reverse on you, what would be the extant of calamity? I would advise you to repent of this error to live a just life.
to be honest with you Yohan, I don't know why you got lost in your last message... I can help you little bit in deciphering your uncontroled reaction:
seems you are jewish playing the attorney of the bible! or at the maximum you are what's called "jewish bible readers". there is nothing wrong about being honest from the begining and say it, nobody will bite you... :)
the bible that I talk about is the book wrote in Kartage for the first time. I don't throw flying words and try to make people believe, like the bible they have in their hands, has too many origines!!!
one book wrote 300 years after Jesus and hold, for the first time in the history of mankind, the name: bible. before that, that was no book named bible. that's also mean for everybody that Tanach is not the bible!!! then stop playing yourself one time christian and later present the jewish doctrine??? make your mind? what are you going to be ? jewish? or christian? christian or jewish? if you keep bouncing, that's the sign of the hypocrites... I don't wish that for you.
you said somebody killed in Iraq... I advice you to quit spining and deceiving people with your wrong interpretations. Iraq is war zone and anybody who find himself in Iraq, has to blame himself for whatever happens to him. I doubt you find somebody in the world, who will accept your claim about what happens in war zone... you can ask the true jewish people why they never said the catholics who were masacring them in German...and there is proof, they did it for Jesus :)
I didn't finish reading your post... you have too many problems and everything mess up in your brain. it is enough for you,we have 100 years of problems because of the myth of the land of meeting... as jewish Orthodox said "if God promised a land to sons of Israel tribes 4000 years ago, He must already gave it to them". God won't miss 4000 years to make America and British give a land to whoever pretend to be jewish in the 20 century...
The comments of Dr. Edriss are sincere and open from his own stand point. If any Christian is not aware of the nature of islam, Dr. Edriss portrays the Spirit of islam. Ever since the murder of a group of Nepali workers in Iraq accusing them of believing Buddha as a god, my quest to know islam took me through the coran.
The book that claims to be the revealed will of god contradicts the Biblical contents straightway on many important points. What is the use of medicating the limbs by displacing the position of their head! There can be no error to admit that this book is the voice of the enemy in grief.
O! How is it possible for God to have a Son? No. God does not have a Son. If mankind turn to the Messiah, God's Son by repentance, my kingdom of darkness will be empty. Go to, preach the perishing mankind against the Jews and Christians, those bearing the oil and those bearing the lamp. Do not compromise with them.
Go and tell them that God has changed his mind. Tell all people that God wants many sinners in heaven without repentance and remission of their sins. Tell that God is merciful and takes any sinner that turn to Him by rejecting the Biblical doctrines spoken through the prophets. Distort and keep some of them to cheat the Jews and Christian as with the rest of lawless mankind. Take some by flattery and others by threats. Afflict them for ages and call the last that remain to compromise. In desperation for peace, they will turn for safety! All must turn to my coran leaving their Torah and the Gospel.
They thought by burning all the original copies of the true gospel and wiping out all the original followers of Jesus A.S the Roman religion of Constantinople would shine for all times but nay, Allah in His infinite wisdom raised the last of the messengers Muhammad (SAW) with the final testament, the Quran giving us the glad tidings and reminding us of the attrocities of the past generations in stubbornly persisting in their love of this world and worshipping other than the true God thus revealing the personalities of the hypocrites and the non-believers. The era of truth is just setting in...lakad ja'al haqq wa zahaqal badil innal badil kana zahuqaa...certainly the truth has manifest and falsehood has perished for by its nature falsehood is always bound to perish.
do you have trinity word in the bible??? if you can't find it, then the moslems spoke in that letter according to the bible.
can you find in the bible Jesus saying worship me the holy spirit and God? you won't!!! then moslems in that letter spoke according to Jesus.
you may claim jesus is all of them! but the bible quoted Jesus praying and prostrating in his prayer to God!!! not only that, he also said "pray like you see me praying" which mean everybody should pray to God. the moslems in that letter said the samething.
then why blame moslems for abiding with what Jesus said in the bible, and support those who follow what Paul did according to the bible!!!??? if you are followers of Paul, you should call yourselves Paulians and moslems won't bother to send you any letter...
I really like to see all region in the world living peacefully in the neighbour hood.We need give more values and respect to humen begins than any other religious teaching.I am aleays against killing humen beging in the name of religion.So if you need to see peace in the world you needs to refrain from inhuman activities.
are you going to be able to tell the Almighty: I saw the good moslems prostrating to God like Jesus did, fasting like him, giving charity to the poor like him, greating people with peace like him,... and never glorified cross like him BUT I believed they were wrong and I was right in following jesus thru thinking he died for me!
I also know you don't need to wait for the answer from The Almighty... if you read the remaining of the bible, you will find in Gospels the story of people called pharisees. those pharisees practiced better than you and lived with Jesus doing some reform to what he was teaching...but Jesus called them sons of devils and promised them the hell...
it is said in the Qur'aan
" ???? ????????? ????????? ?????????? ???? ????????? ?????????? ????????? ?????????? ????????????? ?????? ???????????? "
translated to this: "2:166 Then would those who are followed clear themselves of those who follow (them) : They would see the penalty, and all relations between them would be cut off. "
it is what you will get from the reformers in the hereafter.
you may get lucky to answer them but will be too late:
"2:167 And those who followed would say: "If only We had one more chance, We would clear ourselves of them, as they have cleared themselves of us." Thus will Allah show them (The fruits of) their deeds as (nothing but) regrets. Nor will there be a way for them out of the Fire. "
I get great consolation in knowing not only the liberty to Submit to the Almighty in adoration, praise and worship but also for having order and discipline to that. I would not feel threatened if some reformers of the order were not claiming ownership of the order itself. As such, my caution is not against those who form icons of offence but against the doctrine that corrupts the pure understanding that the Bible should precede anything and everything in the creation of God. Whether it be written several times, if the texts do not degrade or the context do not degenerate, those in the service receive peace and blessings from the Almighty, the Wise for their service to mankind by ministering the Holy Word of God ... Shalom.
that saying is false and there is some racism in it... just not black and white racism! may Allah helps you to change that in your mind.
and I did not say jesus was created by the Greeks. I said the bible wrote by the Greeks... not my talk, the so called christians who said it was wrote in Cartage by it's people (who spoke Greek).
if you don't like it, go and rewrite the history like the roman catholics rewrote the bible many times.
if you ask me about my opinion, I say the bible is wrote only in the 15 century. I say the one wrote in Cartage does not necessary looklike the one wrote by the catholics in 15 century. I have my proofs but I won't present them here...I keep my opinion for myself.
now you may do like, anybody who claim to be christian and feels like he is the bible and the bible is he, and try to find a root to the bible beyond cartage time. I just have to remember you, the people who think themselves are the bible, claim that you have to believe the bible to be a christian!!! and before 397 that was no book called bible! then following them, anybody before that date, is not a christian..
don't take me wrong if you don't like what I say? I'm from the middleeast and I believe that the bible is a book that belongs to my culture... I just don't fall in the category who worship the bible and call the moslems Mohamadans!!! it is not necessary, if the jew brings their name from jewdah and the christians bring their name from christ, that the Moslems must bring their name from Mohammad Salla Alaih wa sallam. we brought from him, only the way to submit to God. it is the same way jesus and Moses submited themselves to God...
excuse my mistakes in grammar, I'm uneducated...(if that's gonna makes you feel better) :)
It is said that having educated enemy is better than uneducated friend. Perhaps it is so because that educated persons abide in the domain of their logic and discipline with words before any action when uneducated person do not have a word to explain their actions. Hoping to benefit obscurely can lead to obscure lives.
The logic of your argument conveys that Jesus was created by Greek myth for the bonding strength of the Roman Empire. In that case you are agreeing with Frank O'Gorman's idea of "tool of the Empire" which he expressed to end by his team work. In that respect it is known that the Christians are challenged from different fronts at different times: the dark interpretations of Mohammedans on one hand and the rituals and idolatry of Papal Rome on the other. This is only from the religious front. There are other fronts as well from the corruption of morality, up front blunt oppositions etc. At this situation, should we come to your book for justification and safety? More than the question of the authenticity of the book where our Salvation and Spiritual safety lies, here are the open threats exposed. The enemy peeps out from his castle ....
Thank you Brother Adam for adequately replying to Romesh antics.
Yes, tell me Romesh, the devout atheist, what shall we discuss ? Sometimes I believe that atheists felt a grave sense of fear and insecurity in them. Not believing in GOD, or the after life would make the atheist search in vain on what's next for them. And they will continue to search in vain until the find Islam.
I am sure their morals differ too, you may have a gay believing atheist, or a socialist or communist atheist. Or a capitalist atheist. Each have their sets of ideas, morals and the notion of right and wrong, which of course would be depending on the interest that each is seeking.
So each will be in separate ways. Don't forget Romesh, the communists are atheist too, so are you going to call them your comrades or compadre ? Do you find common ground with the communist atheist ? Are your morals ( if you have any ) and theirs the same ? I honestly thought that you are a freaking capitalist. Ya, but not all capitalist are atheist. Some are secularists as well. They have a religion, just like the believe that " Render into Caesar what is Caesar, and to God what is God.
So which of these species do you belong to ?.
Assalam Alaikom Brothers and Sisters in Islam
I disagree about calling this guys people of the book. which book? they claim to follow the bible! the bible is just Greek's book wrote with intention to glorify the cross in time of costantine. that's not the book who came to Jesus in one day and they switch it to the name Gospel...
I also disagree with sending any letter to some people who claim everything in the bible (Hitler in it, communism there even 9/11 is there) but nothing about Islam the religion of the majority of the people of the middleeast...
I read little bit of this letter, I can say whoever wrote it did good job... the letter is a witness on the people sent to, in the hereafter... I know they won't get it!!! they are busy thinking like the moslems care to them to answer it...
I can say, it was very good job. leave them think for themselves?they can take it the way they want to take it... it depends on their hearts and how true they are in serving the real Almighty...
Being secular does not imply not believing in God (the creator and sustainer of the universe). Do you know that yours truely, is considered to be in a 'secular' society by definition? That is cos in Nigeria, the government is separated from the supreme laws of God and run by man made laws? But this does not make me an atheist as I believe the universe did not came by coincidence, it has a creator and sustainer and this is Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala).
IF YOU SAY THAT THE UNIVERSE DID NOT HAVE A CREATOR AND SUSTAINER, THAT MAKES YOU AN ATHEIST.
And 'm sure you can see the dilemma of the muslim in even trying to innitiate a diologue with that kind of a 'human being'.
"I apologize for the way some Christians have perverted Christianity into a tool of empire. We are working to end this. Peace to all!"
If it were not for the blessed persons accused as perverting Christianity and the Empire that reaches it out, many would have been in the dark without the Gospel to this time. Your muslim brothers and sisters are pure corruptors who express open enmity against the Mediator of the covenant, treating him like a contemptible Jew before their Great Arab Prophet, called as the last Prophet (as if none would be allowed to profess truth thereafter). Have the propagators of Quoran and their great prophet allowed propagation of the full Gospel in their own countries? Does it not become evident by action that the whole world would have been in darkness and tyranny if the empire were not the tool to reach every soul at the ends of the earth?
Welcome Empire, Welcome Pure Gospel of Jesus Christ, Welcome the Kingdom of God in our hearts. God enlarge America to sweep over the whole earth breaking the oppressive power of darkness of petty nationalities, God defend Israel from the terror of surrounding darkness. God answer the call of this feeble voice as brightness of a broad noon-day. Amen.
You write " As long as you don't have any inclination towards a creator whoever that may be to you, the Muslim will not have any common ground to starting a diologue with you, Athiest!".
Fine. Then should I assume that secularism has no effect on Islam? Why is Islam so afraid of the secularist philosophy? And we comprise about 15% of the world (about 1 Billion people, not a small number). Are secularists and muslims going to be in perpetual warfare till eternity? Fine with me, at least.
How I wish the average "Christian' that is blindly following the teachings of Saul aka Paul will read this but nay, it is the Church leaders who believed 100% with Paul 'the self acclaimed desciple of Jesus Christ' and who benefitted tremendously from the the ignorance of the vast majority 'Christians' that will read part of the write-up and make nonsensical comments like those of frank fuller and yohan ...
Just like true Muslims believe and enjoy the peace in Islam for the past 1400yrs now, unfortunately so does the 'christians' believe in the distorted teachings of Jesus (A.S) for the past 2000yrs so you can see the enormity of the task on the muslims to try and remove the brainwashing (over this long period) of the majority of 'christians' by the church. But this letter is one step (amongst several) in the right direction. And may Allah (the Guide that guides whom He wills) Guides those amongst the 'christians' to realise the mistakes of their leaders and revert back to the true teachings of Jesus (A.S) => the teachings of Islam.
Or lest I forget good response, Kris to Romesh. As long as you don't have any inclination towards a creator whoever that may be to you, the Muslim will not have any common ground to starting a diologue with you, Athiest!
In this day of Internet connections and global commerce we are all each others neighbors.
The creator created this existence in order to give us a substrate upon which to develop understanding. If you study Noether and Hisenberg you can appreciate some of the design decisions. As we grow, the events of our lives shape our understanding and based on our understanding we can possibly understand recordings of others more direct interactions. But that can be really screwed up when a bunch of jacked up interpretations are added on top of it.
We would do a lot better if we studied first revelation, creation, and second revelation, the interactions of life and how it affects our understanding and worked toward enhancing the ways these things teach us to wait patiently in line, treat others with respect and help our neighbors fulfill their needs lawfully. These are things we can communicate to our neighbors.
Romesh Chander, why are you, such an unwelcome busy body ? If the Muslim scholars wishes to dialogues by begining with an open letter, with the Christian first, then why do you care ?
The Muslim world has never declared that they only intended to have inter-faith with Christians only. Where did you, as usual jump to such conclusion ?
And to the atheist, who represents them ? Do they have a council which Muslim scholars and religious leaders can address ? Or are you their self proclaimed or rather self appointed representative ? The efforts of these scholars are commendable and I doubt whether you have actually read the letter in depth to have an appreciation of it's content, meaning and intention.
And tell me, if ever the Muslim religious scholars are to address the atheist, where and at which point should we begin ? To start of with, they ( the atheist ) do not believe in GOD as the Supreme being. And morals, of what ? Where do these morals ( if those atheists have any ) stemmed from ? What should we discuss Romesh, your claim that GOD doesn't exist or there is no after life ?
Wait a minute. Why muslims want to talk to Christians only? Are Christians the ones who don't understand muslims and Islam? Are they the problem for muslims/Islam (and the world)?
I thought Jews were the problem. Why not talk to Jews? May be the differences are irreconcilable and hence there is no point talking to them!! Probably Jews and muslims understand each other perfectly well.
Why not talk to Hindus? They are also a problem for muslims; are'nt they. Why not talk to Buddhists? Are they not also the problem? Why not talk to secularists (and athiests; they constitute about 15% of the world)?. I thought Islam was scared stiff from secularism.
May be muslims should talk to each other. After all, Shiites and Sunnis are killing each other.
The article is quite insincere in my opinion. Because Islam will never shirk from bringing Sharia to the world, even if it destroys the entire humanity (Oh, that will avoid Second Coming of Jesus Christ; what will Jesus do on earth when the entire humanity is already gone; there will be nothing left for him to clean up).
If any one comes with repentance, there exists a grand WELCOME in the MESSIAH Y'SHUA. As it is, every contemporary earth dwellers are our neighbors against whom we hoard no personal offence for their wrong choice in the matters of GOD and Religion. Has any of the Christian organization or group made it their goal to achieve "peace" and "paradise" by slitting the throat of those who are not willing to subscribe to their terms? Christians are true Muslims being upright and obedient to the Will of GOD and our religion is truly "Islam" meaning, Christ, the Good. Our Building does not stand on the props that decay. It stands on the solid foundation of the WORD of GOD and we abide without other support to the Last Day. Do you share this confidence, O fellow Christians? The inheritance of Jacob in the Lord is that he shall STAND ALONE ON THE EARTH BEFORE HIS LORD. It is good if his brothers come to him seeking peace and conciliation. Then shall the earth have lasting peace.
Having said so, I ask here whether the Christians should submit to the contradictory doctrines of Quoran?