Shared Values during Lent
- Created on Thursday, 28 February 2013 09:00
MUSLIMS & CHRISTIANS: SHARED VALUES AND RECOGNIZING EACH OTHER
The two most adhered to divine religions: Christianity and Islam. The knowledge about Islam that our Christian brothers possess is mostly hearsay and the same situation exists vice versa. We learn about each other through friends, family, books and media. Yet, this impersonal knowledge generally leads us to erroneous conclusions. The only references we need to appeal to are the Gospel as the foundation of Christianity and the Qur’an as the foundation of Islam.
In the Qur’an, Allah refers to the Christians as “the people we will find close to us in love”:
“.. and nearest among them in love to the believers wilt thou find those who say, "We are Christians": because amongst these are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant.” (Holy Quran, Al-Ma’ida, 82)
During the first years of Islam, at the time when Muslims were a minority and suffering torment and persecution from the pagans of Mecca, some Muslims wanted to flee to seek refuge in a just ruler. Our Prophet Mohammed advised them to go to the Christian King of Ethiopia, King Ashama for shelter. The Muslims were warmly welcomed by the Christian King and were provided with just governance. Muslims were received with love and respect by the Christians. King Ashama rejected the demands of the pagan Meccans to surrender the Muslims to them and declared that Muslims could live independently in his country. The foundation of the relationship between Christians and Muslims was strongly set in these years.
'Reciprocal visits of Muslims to churches and of Christians to mosques and showing compassion toward each other is of great importance.'
Therefore, to this day cherishing this strong beginning of relations and forming alliances is a very important issue. Reciprocal visits of Muslims to churches and of Christians to mosques and showing compassion toward each other is of great importance. We should get to know each other and form individual, personal bonds in order to develop a spirit of intense alliance and cooperation with our Christian brothers and sisters. Of course, discussions that might offend each other should be avoided. Our communication should be based on love and understanding so we may develop solidarity to the utmost level, not distracted by differences which may lead each other apart.
In spite of the fact that Christianity and Islam may differ in rules and practice, they fundamentally present the same belief and morality. Both represent the fact of existence, oneness and attributes of God, the notion of good and evil, right and wrong, the path to eternal life and how to submit to and be a humble servant of God.
Fasting is but one of the means of service that both Muslims and Christians practice. It is a season of repentance, self-denial and sacrifice. It is a way of humbling oneself before God and to devote oneself only to Him. It is a demonstration of love and a glorification of God. During the sacred month of Lent, we embrace our Christian brothers, recognize and enjoy their fasting and support their way of expressing repentance and returning to God.
What is more important is that during this period of the End Times, we are waiting and longing for the beautiful Prophet Jesus (pbuh) to appear again which will happen very soon, if God permits. We should pave the way for Jesus Messiah’s coming by building bonds and alliances with each other. Laying such a foundation is our duty for the upcoming celebration of the Prophet Jesus (pbuh)’s return.
'There is a community among the People of the Book who are upright. They recite Allah's Signs throughout the night, and they prostrate. They have faith in Allah and the Last Day, and enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, and compete in doing good. They are among the righteous. You will not be denied the reward for any good thing you do. Allah knows those who have piety.' (Holy Qur'an, Surah Al 'Imran: 113-115)
Another guest post from one of our Muslim friends, thanks to Ayça for encouraging these reflections
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