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Islam-Christianity; Commonalties

Islam Christianity & Judaism: Qur’an urges Muslims to invite the ‘People of the Book’ (Christians and Jews) towards the commonalties: “Say: “O people of the Book! Let us get together on what is common between us and you: that we shall worship none but God; that we shall not associate any partners with Him and that we shall not take human beings for our lords besides God;” If they turn away then tell them: “Bear witness that it is we who have surrendered ourselves un to Him (in Islam).”(Qur’an;3:64). The Jews, Christians and Muslims claim to be the followers of Abraham, who preached the pure monotheism.  Moses and Jesus said: “Shama Israelu Adonai Ila Hayno Adna Ikhad”; “Hear, O Israel : The Lord our God is one Lord” (Deuteronomy;6:4, Isaiah;43:11, 45:5,46:9 & Mathew;19:17). Qur’an says: “Your God is one God; there is no one worthy of worship except Him, the Compassionate, the Merciful.” (Qur’an;2:163). The focus on common aspects will  help in developing batter understanding of each other and can become basis for dialogue. The faith in Islam is based upon belief in Allah (One God), His angels, His Scriptures (like Torah, Psalms, Gospel), His messengers, and Muhammad (peace be upon him) to be His Last Messenger, Resurrection after death, Destiny, Trial, Hell and Paradise. A Muslims  should practice the five pillars of Islam (worship); the first two; Declaration & Prayers (Shahada & Salah) are daily, next two Charity & Fasting (Zakat & Saum) are annual while Hajj is once in life. These are based on Abrahamic traditions, also mentioned in Bible.

The Creation: The narratives of creation of universe, Adam and humanity are quite similar. The guidance of humanity through messengers and prophets like Noah, Lut, Jonah, Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Moses, David, Solomon Jesus and scriptures has been mentioned in Bible and Qur’an. Muslims believe in miraculous birth of Jesus without father, miracles performed by him, his accession to heaven and second coming before end of the world. Jesus (peace be upon him), the son of Mary was the Messenger of God: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know.”(Acts; 2:22). Jesus himself said: “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Mathew; 10:5-6, 15:24 & Qur’an;3:49),  “Think not that I (Jesus) have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. . . . Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these Commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven;”(Mathew;5:17-20).

Individual Responsibility: Qur’an and Bible are synonymous on the individual responsibility of man; (Qur’an;35:18, 17:15,6:164 and Bible; Ezekiel;18:20-21). The advent of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has been prophesized the Old Testament as well as in New Testament; (Deuteronomy; 18:18,19, Mathew; 1:18, Luke; 1:35, Qur’an; 3:42-47 linked with John;18:36, 1:11 & Mathew;5:17-18).

Belief in All Prophets: The Holy Qur’an invites the Muslims not only to believe in Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) but also in the prophets who had come prior to his advent. Muslims, are interested not only in the Revelation that was given to humanity through Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), but also in the Revelations which were given to prophets previous to him. Among the prophets who had appeared before Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Exalted Status of Jesus Christ: The Qur’an has emphasized the importance to the Muslims of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him).  Jesus was no doubt was sent with a direct mission to the Israelites; he was also a universal sign. In Qur’an (21:107) the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has been termed as a Mercy unto Human­ity (Rahmatun lil Alamin), in the same Chapter (21:91) Mary and Jesus have been termed as a “Sign to Humanity” (Ayatun lil Alamin) due to miraculous birth of Jesus to virgin Mary. It is important that though many prophets are men­tioned in the Qur’an the word Alamin (universe or humanity) has been used “only for Prophet Jesus and Mohammed (peace be upon them). In addition to his mission to the Israelites Jesus was commissioned with the task of heralding to the world the advent of the Last and the greatest Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Incidentally it is only Prophet Jesus and Mohammed (peace be upon them) who have the largest following in the world today. Over half of the total human population consists of the Christians who claim to be associated with Jesus, while the Muslims believe in both, i.e. Prophet Jesus and Mohammed (peace be upon them). The Qur’an also underlines the closeness of relationship between the Muslims and Christians (Qur’an;5:81-85). It is only through understanding and cooperation between the Christians and Muslims, through which the rising tides of atheism and materialism can be con­fronted and world made peaceful place for the humanity.

The Law and Commandments: The instructions analogous to the Commandments have also been mentioned in Qur’an and made applicable to Muslims except Sabbath, the stringent restriction from which Muslims have been relieved, it was not the tradition of Abraham. The tradition of circumcision is linked with Abraham (Genisis;17:10-12, Acts;7:8, John;7:22) accordingly  Jesus was also circumcised (Luke;2:21), while Christians have abandoned this tradition, Muslims being the faithful true followers of Abraham, strictly adhere to this practice. Moses is revered as a messenger of God with scripture, mentioned in Qur’an at numerous verses; 17:2, 4:154, 7:145 & 7:154.

Status of Women: Islam places women at respectable and dignified position. Taking ‘Interest’ is prohibited in Bible at Leviticus;25:37. Riba (literally ‘usury’ or ‘interest’) is also prohibited by Qur’an at 2:278-279, 2:275,  2:276 & 30:39. The dietary prohibitions of Old Testament are almost similarly applicable to Muslims with some relaxations. The pork (pig meat) and alcohol are also prohibited for Muslims. Muslims are also allowed to consume permissible (Hilal) food from the People of the Book. The punishments through retaliation; like Life for a Life, Eye for Eye are mentioned in Bible and Qur’an. In Eschatology; Resurrection on the Day of Judgment, reward and punishment after trial, paradise and hell, bear some similarities.  Humanitarian obligations have been emphasized in Bible and Qur’an.

Declaration of the Second Vatican Council: It is heartening to see that there is a reorientation in the Christian world in its attitude to Muslims. The Declaration of the Second Vatican Council on “Religious Freedom,” issued in 1965, said: “Upon the Muslims the Church looks with esteem. They adore One God, Living and Enduring, Merciful and All-powerful, Maker of heaven and earth, and Speaker to man. They strive to submit wholeheartedly even to his inscrutable decrees,”

Fairness and Justice for World Peace: The extreme oppression of Muslims, the world over has resulted in violence. Islam does not advocate killing of innocent or suicide. The human life is valued greatly. The acts of few desperate ignorant people does not represent the real Islam, which is the religion of peace and obedience to God. It is important that for the sake of world peace and freedom of humanity, the Christian world and Zionists should treat the Muslims with fairness, justice, respect and dignity which they deserve and stop oppression and exploitation of their people, land and resources. The common roots, to believe and worship ‘One God’ as ‘Children of Abraham’ should form the basis of friendship and dialogue not confrontation.

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