Archive for the ‘religion’ Category

What are Some Key Similarities between Christianity and Islam?

April 23, 2013

WAINUI beach sunrise

Article Title: What are Some Key Similarities between Christianity and Islam?
Shared by: Craig Lock

Category (key words): Christianity, Islam, religion, faith, beliefs, peace, spiritual, spiritual unity, breaking down barriers, building bridges

Web sites: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4 http://goo.gl/vTpjk http://www.creativekiwis.com/amazon.htmland http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/craiglock

The submitter’s blogs (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) are at www.sharefaith.wordpress.com.wordpress.com

www.buildbridgesofunity.wordpress.comwww.buildbridgesofunderstanding.wordpress.com

www.breakdownwalls.wordpress.com http://religiousunity.wordpress.com

www.peacepursuit.wordpress.comhttp://craigsblogs.wordpress.com + so many others I can’t keep track (obsessive or WHAT!)

Other Articles are available at: http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/user/15565 and http://www.ideamarketers.com/library/profile.cfm?writerid=981
(Personal growth, self help, writing, internet marketing, spiritual, ‘spiritual writings’ (how ‘airey-fairey’), words of inspiration and money management, how boring now, craig)

Publishing Guidelines:
All my writings may be freely published, electronically or in print.
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WHAT ARE SOME KEY SIMILARITIES BETWEEN CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM?

Submitter’s Note:
Craig is studying the teachings of different religions (to find ‘common ground’/principles/ and as he learns from his research, is sharing these notes in an attempt to ‘enlighten’ (himself and perhaps others) regarding ‘eternal and universal truths.’ These notes form part of Craig’s new novel set in the Middle East, titled ‘A New Dawn: Let the Journey Begin’. Hope this piece may be of interest to you too.
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INTRODUCTION

The issue of RELIGION throughout history of mankind and today evermore plays a vital part in many conflicts around the world. Religion is (and was) often blamed as the cause of the conflicts; whereas it is/was people misusing religion for their own ends (often taking particular and significant interpretations out of context) that have shaped societies and cultures. I truly believe it’s critically important to emphasize the common values shared by different religions to drastically reduce tensions around the globe. So that religion (and it’s beliefs) can be turned around from being part of the conflict to be part of the SOLUTION. Instead of focusing on the differences between people, in this ‘battle of ideas/ideologies” we should focus far more on what we have in common.

So what are the foundations, what is the frame-work of the respective beliefs?

Most religions of the world espouse (nice word, eh!) good moral values as a code of conduct: the virtues of passion for liberalism, tolerance, compassion, decency and generous ideals. However, there is a fundamental doctrinal incompatibility between the major faiths of Islam and Christianity (though together with the Jews, they worship the God of Abraham). These three major religions share the common truth of the Old Testament, having many prophets in common and consequently have many “shared values” that have shaped societies over the past two millennia.

Whilst there are some major differences between Islam and Christianity, from my research (fascinating and mainly online) some of the fundamental similarities in beliefs between these two main religions (as well as Judaism) are as follows:

ISLAM

The main beliefs:

* There is only One True God: the Sovereign Ruler of the universe…
and has full control over our lives (and will meet all of our needs)

* God (Allah) is the Creator of everything and central to Muslims lives. Allah is simply beyond human thought and understanding.

* True believers are not to worship any other gods

* Allah’s goodness and benevolence is seen everywhere, because He is compassionate and merciful.

* Many Old Testament prophets were from God (ie. were sent by God as messengers to the world)

* Jesus’s strong sense of mission, unity and sense of purpose.
He was sent by God to serve humanity and being divinely inspired was a great moral teacher and prophet.

* God gave the Torah, the prophets, the Koran and the Gospel to guide our lives. ( I don’t know enough about Mohamed and his “divine destiny” to pass comment on his “mission”).

* We are to obey God’s words (as in the first five books of the Old Testament, the ‘Pentitukes’- spelling?)

* We should surrender/sacrifice ourselves fully to God
(in fact, the word ‘Islam” means ‘full submission to God’s will’)

* Jesus will return to earth one day (though in which form is uncertain). Though Jews do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah…
and I’m not sure on that point with Islam.

* Humans have free will and exercise a choice between doing good or evil in their daily lives.

* Humans only live once on this earth, then face judgment:
One day there will be a day of Judgment for how we’ve lived our lives.

* Believers who die will go to ‘heaven’ and live forever (though the concept of heaven is not precisely defined).

* Disbelievers will go to ‘hell’ (or suffer torment, which is ‘separation from God’ forever). Heaven or hell are written about in the Qur’an in poetic terms, ie. symbolic rather than actual places.

* It is important to pray to God frequently (Muslims do it five times a day) and attend a congregation at least once a week (usually mid-day on Fridays)

* We should have a spirit of charity and help the poor and those in a less fortunate position to ourselves (with money and/or works)

* A person’s allotted time on earth is predestined.

* All people are equal before the law.

and finally

* We should respect our differences and Christians, Jews, and Muslims should never be killed purely on account of their faith.

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CHRISTIANITY

Christianity and Islam are both missionary religions. Both faiths believe they have a monopoly over the truth. Both want to share their version of truth with others and both compete in seeking converts. I am motivated to share these “truths” with others, so people may benefit and enhance their lives in a meaningful way…if they so CHOOSE.

There IS a significant difference from Islam: Christianity exists solely on the basis that Jesus Christ is the ‘son of God’ (ie. the fact is taken literally); whereas the faith of Islam exists purely on the basis that God dictated his laws to Mohammed and that the Koran contains God’s actual words. Most “informed” Christians, however, do not believe the Koran is the un-intermediated word of God. Most followers of Christ know very little about Mohammed being perceived as a ‘messenger of God.’ They can, therefore, only think that Mohammed was deluded, if not a liar. (Of course, most Christians are far too polite to say such a thing!).

The Bible teaches that Jesus is the son of God/God incarnate (“the human face of God”) and that he dies on a cross to reconcile mankind and God. Then he was resurrected after three days and now lives in heaven. The gospel message teaches that reconciliation with God is to be found through the redemptive work of Jesus only.

Good works as “entry” to heaven count for nothing, in the absence of acceptance of Jesus.

And as regards Christianity, it’s the notion of the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit as one), which rationalists find to be the most implausible aspect of Christianity. If Jesus was not the Son of God, then he too was deluded, crazy … or perhaps even a “liar”. And if he – as opposed to He – was either of those things, then the Resurrection is also a lie and Christianity, as a faith rather than as a philosophy is utterly null and void.

Christianity is based on the concept of FAITH and God’s Infinite Grace. We are “saved for eternity” (so our soul lives on) through our faith in Jesus and are not solely judged for the ‘hereafter’ by our good works during our lifetime. (And these good works are inspired by our faith and the ‘divine spirit’ at work through God’s Infinite Grace). This is a battle of ideas. Cardinal Ratzenberger: “Islam simply does not have the separation of the political and religious spheres which Christianity had from the very beginning. The Koran… insists that the whole order of life be Islamic (ie. no separation of religion/church and state). One must understand that Islam is not simply a denomination that can be included in the free realm of a pluralistic society.”

True Muslims cannot accept either the separation of powers or the freedom under the law (ie. “democracy”), which are the hallmarks of Western civilization.

* extracted from an article (excellent) in ‘The Independent’ by Dominic Lawson.

As we are what we believe yourself to be (You are what YOU believe), I believe that Jesus genuinely believed himself to be a ‘Son of God’, divinely ordained with a specific mission, a unique purpose which he CHOSE to fulfil in his short life. Christians say that the tradition of Jesus of Nazareth points us to a new life and new thoughts, as well as new possibilities… as a community and as a nation. Still you may or may not CHOOSE to believe in Jesus Christ and follow his teachings as YOUR pathway to connect to God, a Higher Power, ‘the Ground of all Being, the Essence of Existence’, your spiritual self.
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Whilst we can celebrate our differences, we should love God (whatever we understand the concept to be) with all our hearts, minds and souls and our neighbour as we love ourselves (common teachings from both faiths of Islam and Christianity). Simple, eh!

It’s not such a matter of conflicting ideologies, the great ‘battle of civilizations’ is it?

So
Isn’t WHAT UNITES US IS FAR MORE IMPORTANT THAN WHAT DIVIDES US!

and

God’s greatest gift to us is allowing us to find, then choose to follow our own truths.

Craig Lock

Former Archbishop in South Africa Desmond Tutu: “We have come to a time in the history of the world, where we need to rediscover the path to peace, and the path to peace can never be war. This pathway is lined with the concept of co-existence and co-inhabitance of the world.”

“A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends and when the soul of a nation, long supressed, finds utterance.”
– J.Nehru, first Prime Minister of India

“It is time for people of good will from every faith, culture and nation to recognise that a terrible danger threatens humanity. We must set aside the partisan bickering between nations and join together to confront the danger that lies before us. Let us seek common ground between peoples around the globe…
because what unites us is far more important than what divides us.

In our own little ways in our individual lives we can touch so many others and share our common humanity. And in so doing we can illuminate the hearts and minds of humanity. We must offer a compelling alternate vision for the world: a bright future of justice, tolerance, respect for other traditions and values and especially a vision of goodness and hope fuelled by the flame of love – one that banishes the fanatical ideology of intolerance and hatred to the darkness from which it emerged.”
– craig (as inspired by and adapted from the words of Abdurahman Wahid, former President of Indonesia)

“What we learn in the darkness, we are to share in the eternal light.”

“What we believe is not nearly as important as how we relate, interact with each other… and how we live. Only when we can say, ‘I am first and foremost a human being, and second a Jew, Muslim, Shi’ite, a Sunni, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu ,or a Sikh…’ will we progress and break down barriers between peoples, nations and cultures, both east and west. Let not our beliefs , but our shared humanity (ALL of us) define who we really are. “

“Let us build bridges rather than barriers, openness rather than walls. Rather than borders, let us look at distant horizons together…in the common spirit of the value and dignity of a shared personhood – our common humanity as citizens of planet earth.”

– craig

“God’s greatest gift to us is allowing us to find, then choose to follow our own truths.”

“Let not our different beliefs set us apart as human beings, but rather let our shared humanity be what defines and unites us as common citizens of our planet.”

– me

About the submitter:
Craig is “a passionate ‘extremist’ about respect for religious tolerance and moderation”. In his various writings little by little, one mind, one heart, one soul, one small step at a time, Craig hopes to promote better understanding across countries and cultures, striving in some small way to break down economic, social, cultural, religious and political barriers. He truly believes that whilst we should celebrate our differences, what we share in the form of our common humanity is way more important than what divides us.
http://www.craiglockbooks.comhttp://www.selfgrowth.com/experts/craig_lock.html

Craig’s new manuscript ‘A New Dawn’ is set in the Middle East: In it he attempts to find ‘common ground’/principles between different religions and cultures and to try to make some difference in building bridges in an ever more dangerous, turbulent and uncertain world. A passionate story of inspiration: hope, faith, peace and especially love.

Craig’s booklet ‘Jesus Meets Muhammad’ is available at http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Meets-Muhammad-Real-ebook/dp/B005H86TPU/

The various books* that Craig “felt inspired to write” (including his books on Jesus and his numerous e-books on “the spiritual journey”) are available at:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4http://goo.gl/vTpjkhttp://www.creativekiwis.com/amazon.htmlandhttp://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/craiglock

“The world’s smallest and most exclusive bookstore”

“A good book should take you from your everyday life to another place entirely.”

The submitter’s blogs (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) are at www.sharefaith.wordpress.com.wordpress.com

www.buildbridgesofunity.wordpress.comwww.buildbridgesofunderstanding.wordpress.com

www.breakdownwalls.wordpress.com http://religiousunity.wordpress.com

www.peacepursuit.wordpress.comhttp://craigsblogs.wordpress.com + so many others I can’t keep track (obsessive or WHAT!)

Together, one mind, one heart, one life at a time, let’s plant the seeds, the hope of a better and brighter future.

THESE THOUGHTS MAY BE FREELY PUBLISHED, electronically or in print

Peace. it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. it means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”
– author unknown

STOP EVANGELIZING: INSTEAD OF PUTTING UP WALLS START BUILDING BRIDGES

November 17, 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STOP EVANGELIZING:  INSTEAD OF PUTTING UP WALLS  START BUILDING BRIDGES

Key words (tags):  Jesus, Jesus Christ, Muslims, Islam, Christianity, Carl Medearis, books, ‘Islam, Christianity and Jesus’, ‘Jesus Meets Muhammad’, evangelicals, evangelism, CNN, building bridges, breaking down barriers, religious unity

 

“An obsession with religious identity can and is often destructive…very. In my own life and through my words.  I  was constantly striving to break down walls between Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor, men and women, sinners and saints.  And that’s why we have the parable of the Good Samaritan in the Holy Book.  Jews in my day thought of the Samaritans as the violent heretics, much the same way that so many Christians think of Muslims today. It’s just that they are misinformed… as Muslims are about Christians. The idea that a Samaritan could be good was scandalous to first century Jews.

I tried to be a… the ‘master’ of challenging religious prejudice and breaking down sectarian walls. So why do so many Christians want to rebuild those barriers, those walls?

Even the Apostle Paul insisted that it’s faith in me that matters, not converting to a new religion or a new socio-religious identity.

What if my followers today, instead of focusing on ‘evangelizing’ and ‘converting’ people, were to begin to think of me not as someone starting a new religion, but as the central figure of a movement that transcends religious distinctions and identities?

I’d much rather be viewed as a uniter of humanity, not ‘Jesus the divider’. If viewed in this way, how might that change the way humanity looks at others? That would truly be A NEW DAWN …for all humanity!

 

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To elaborate (big word, eh!) further on this idea, this theme. I never said, “Go into the world and convert people to Christianity.” (That term came from my first totally devoted followers). What I said was, ‘Go and make disciples of all nations…’ (as it says in Matthew 28:19)

Encouraging (and perhaps ‘inviting in a friendly way’) anyone and everyone to become an apprentice (a follower) of me, without manipulation, is a more open, dynamic and relational way of helping people who want to become more like me, regardless of their religious identity.

So called ‘evangelicals’ should stop evangelizing; but this doesn’t mean that they should to stop speaking of me.

I’d love more of ‘my ordinary’ followers building relationships among Christian leaders in the West and among Muslim leaders in the Middle East. And that is my message to the world in these uncertain and volatile days (as they have been throughout humanity).

Many Christians may be surprised to learn that Muslims are generally open to studying my life, as a model for leadership and more importantly, for spiritual growth, because they revere me as a prophet, though a major one like Abraham and Moses. And that is in the Quran!

Because there are so many writings about the “real me”, it’s very confusing and complex for most people. So many views, so many misunderstandings which cause antagonism.  And Christianity , like Islam so frequently splitting off into sects, even cults. Sad… because strength lies in unity.  But it, my life and my message is really so SIMPLE! Even today in the years 2011 after my birth. So my followers,  the “thinking” ones at least may find that simply talking about me  will be much easier and far more compelling and effective in breaking down barriers through dispelling misunderstandings… between individuals, between nations, between cultures,  north and South and  especially between East and West.

Whilst the doctrine of the Christian faith is important, it’s not more important than simply following me. ‘Follow me and become a fisher of men’, as it says in Matthew 4:19.

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HOW to do it?

Just meet people where they ARE. Simply invite people to follow me and God, The Father, The Ultimate Source (no matter what name we may give Him), the Father’s Infinite Power and Grace through the  Holy Spirit will do the rest in transforming people’s hearts and minds. As I said: “Just ASK and it will be given unto you.”

Because inviting people to love, trust, and follow me is something the world can live with in these tumultous times in  the early years of this 21st century… as it has been throughout history  (before and after my birth). This faith, this common ground  linking Islam and Christianity is not about religion, but rather a ‘personal relationship’ with me through a new mind, a new God-consciousness. It’s such a simple message, this new dawn, a possible era of reconciliation. Perhaps we, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and all the rest alike should ALL practice what we preach… in a word LOVE… then the world will be a far better and happier place for everyone, everywhere.”

 

 

Shared by spirit (as inspired by and adapted from a blog)

on the personal beliefs of Carl Medearis.

www.carlmedearis.com

As adapted from  CNN Belief Blog (Filed under: Christianity  Evangelical  Interfaith issues Opinion)

Carl Medearis is an international expert in Arab-American and Muslim-Christian relations and is author of the book  ‘Speaking of Jesus: The Art of Not-Evangelism’ and ‘Islam, Christianity and Jesus’.

Sourced from  religion.blogs.cnn.com/…/my-take-why-evangelicals-should-stop-…

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A passionately Jesus-centered approach to life

“Above all, we are followers of Jesus, on a journey with him, following where he leads us. We center our lives on him, not on the religion of Christianity, not on Western civilization, and not on patriotism. Jesus is the great peacemaker. We affirm a Jesus-centered approach to life, because this highlights the treasure of the good news. His life, his teaching,  his death, and his resurrection all describe and illustrate multi-dimensional reconciliation.”

From: http://ricklove.net/?p=917

 

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This is one of my favourite extracts/quotes (and in a nutshell, sums up some of my important beliefs – at the ‘core of my being’)…so thought I’d share

“I had a good chance to meet a yogi who was so spiritual and happy all the time. I wondered how he managed his thinking and I learned a lot from him. I saw him and I thought, ‘This is the way.’ You believe in a God, but not in a religious way. We human beings like to give him names, whether that is Jesus or whatever else. But my view is that God is ONE, whether it is Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, almost anything, and that he is everywhere. He has no colour, no religion, no race, nothing. It’s incredible how close he is to you and to everybody. You just call him and he’s there. That’s it, simple. This is the reality we so often forget.”

– Balbir Singh, former physio-therapist to Michael Schumacher (and student of psychology)

From ‘Overdrive: Formula One in the Zone by Clyde Brolin

Web site: www.overdrivef1.com

 

 

Shared by craig

“It is time for people of good will from every faith, culture and nation to recognise that a
terrible danger threatens humanity. We must set aside the partisan bickering
between nations and join together to confront the danger that lies before us.
Let us seek common ground between peoples around the globe… because what unites
us is far more important than what divides us.”

“There is neither east nor west, tribe nor ethnicity, male or female, Muslim, Hindu,
Buddhist. Christian nor Jew. There is only a God-filled humanity.”

“Let each one of us build bridges rather than barriers, openness rather than walls. Let us
look at distant horizons together in a spirit of acceptance, helpfulness, co-operation and peace. Let our leaders look at the future with a vision – to see things not as they are, but what they could one day become.”

Let us build bridges rather than barriers, openness rather than walls. Rather than borders,
let us look at distant horizons together…in the common spirit of the value and dignity of a shared personhood – our common humanity as citizens of planet earth.”

– craig

“When people’s hearts are full of love, the world is filled with hope.”

“With passion and purpose in our individual lives we can touch others and in so doing illuminate the hearts and minds of humanity to make a better world (through helping raise the ‘collective consciousness’). Let us encourage our leaders towards an alternate vision for
the world to embrace: one that banishes the fanatical ideology of intolerance
and hatred to the darkness from which it emerged. Each one of us in our own
little ways can offer (and most importantly, LIVE) this compelling new horizon:
a bright future of justness and justice, tolerance, respect for other
traditions and values. Especially a vision of hope and thoughts of peace
fuelled by the eternal flame of love, which can light the darkest night… always.”
– me

“God, The Essence of Life, the Ground of All Being, is leading us to the light. What we
learn in the darkness, we are to share in the eternal light.”

“Nothing that I can do will change the structure of the universe. But maybe, by raising my
voice I can help the greatest of all cause – goodwill among men and peace on earth.”

– Albert Einstein

“What we believe is not nearly as important as how we relate, interact with each
other… and how we live. Only when we can say, ‘I am first and foremost a
human being, and second a Jew, Muslim, Shi’ite, a Sunni, Buddhist, Christian,
Hindu, or a Sikh …’ will we progress and break down barriers between peoples,
nations and cultures, east and west. Let not our beliefs , but our shared
humanity (ALL of us) define who we really are.”

– craig

About the submitter:

In his various writings, little by little, one mind, one soul, one life at a time, Craig
strives to break down social, cultural, religious and economic barriers through
sharing information and “planting, then watering uplifting ideas and seeds of
hope”. He truly believes that whilst we should celebrate our differences, what
we share as ‘human beans’ is way more important than what divides us.

Craig’s new manuscript, ‘A New Dawn’ is set in the Middle East: In it he attempts to find ‘common ground’/principles between different religions and cultures and to try to make some difference in building bridges in an ever more dangerous, turbulent and uncertain world. A
passionate story of inspiration: hope, faith, peace and especially love.

The various books that craig “felt inspired to write” (including A New Dawn’ ) are
available at: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4c http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/craiglock (ebooks) www.creativekiwis.com/index.php/books/74-craigs-bookswww.lulu.com/craiglock and https://www.xinxii.com/asresults.php?s4=craig+lock&sid=1

Craig’s new book ‘Jesus Meets Muhammad’ is available at

http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Muhammad-Christianity-Spirit-ebook/dp/B0066QLVNC/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1321488683&sr=1-3

The submitter’s
blogs (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new
manuscripts) are at buildbridgesofunity.wordpress.com http://religiousunity.wordpress.com/ and http://craigsblogs.wordpress.com

This is my favourite and sums up my message, my life mission…in trying in some small way…one step, one mind, one heart at a time  to break down barriers, walls between people, nations: and cultures: social, cultural, economic and  religious..

“I had a good chance to meet a yogi who was so spiritual and happy all the time. I wondered how he managed his thinking and I learned a lot from him. I saw him and I thought, ‘This is the way.’ You believe in a God, but not in a religious way. We human beings like to give him names, whether that is Jesus

or whatever else. But my view is that God is ONE, whether it is Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, almost anything, and that he is everywhere. He (or she) has (no gender), colour, no religion, no race, nothing. It’s incredible how close he is to you and to everybody. You just call him (her/It) and he’s there. That’s it, simple. This is the reality we so often forget.”

– Balbir Singh, former physio-therapist to Michael Schumacher (and student of psychology). (With my little additional few words in brackets)

from a great book by Clyde Brolin ‘Overdrive: Formula One in the Zone’

www.overdrivef1.com

“Together, one mind, one heart, one life at a time, today let’s plant the seeds, the hope of a
better and brighter future (for tomorrow)”

 

 

 

 

Building Bridges: Christianity and Islam by Fouad Elias Accad (Book Summary)

December 30, 2010

 

 

 

Tags (key words): Building Bridges: Christianity and Islam ,

 

Sourced from:

Written on December 1, 2009 at 2:16 pm by Samuel

 Submitters Note

The submitter is NOT a “religious evangelist” (but is “a spiritual human being“), who wants to try to convert people to his brand of faith. But as he learns himself about different religions, he merely wants readers to think about these “rather heavy” matters, if that is their interest. In addition, the submitter strives to attempt in some small way to dispel major misunderstanding …and in sharing he too learns about these two (enough “toos”there) great religions..

And in so doing his own truths and beliefs are validated

I understand that many Muslims, not having access to, nor having read the Bible are fascinated by the figure of Jesus. Perhaps in sharing these words of Fouad Elias Accad , my wish, my fervent hope, is that both Christians and Muslims will have the authority and eternal presence of Jesus Christ elevated and perhaps even feel the living presence, the Spirit of Christ himself

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Reaching Out to Muslims

There is a growing Muslim population in North American and many Christ followers may feel intimidated or ignorant in knowing how to engage with this population regarding matters of life and faith. Following is some advice and suggestions in beginning and maintaining this dialogue.

Much of this material is adapted from a excellent book by Fouad Elias Accad entitled Building Bridges: Christianity and Islam. When I first picked up this book I was apprehensive – wondering if it would stay true to a fundamental evangelical approach to missions and evangelism. In my opinion, there is no compromise in truth that salvation is through Christ alone by grace through faith. Mr. Accad merely gives us methods, reminders and cautions, so that this message may be received by Muslims. Remember their intimidation may be greater than yours.

Relationships, Relationships, Relationships.

If the Muslim has not had time to develop respect for a Christian friend and vice versa, most conversations are always futile. But if the Christian has worked on building a close relationship and understanding his Muslim friend for a good period of time, there will be an immensely different Response (Accad, pg. 31).

Learn from the person.

Towrah = Old Testament, Zabur = Psalms and Injeel = New Testament.

Koran consists of one book with a different title for each of its 114 chapters.

Establish common ground where there is.

Muslim means “surrendered to God”. As Christ followers we can agree with this – we are surrendered to God through the sacrifice of Messiah Isa (Christ).

Some of us conclude that other people have worthless religious practices. The fact is, we have failed to realize that those people only do these things in an effort to please God, whom they appreciate and revere about everything else. Think of sincere Muslims. They give to the poor. They fast from dawn to sundown for a whole month every year. They stop whatever they are doing five times a day to pray (Accad, pg. 21).

Of the four gospels Matthew seems to be the most appropriate for Muslims to being reading

(Accad, pg. 73).Using the Koran successfully, to help Muslims journey towards Christ, hinges on being able to show that its real intention was pro-Bible, pro-Christ and pro-Christian. Most translations of the Koran add traditional Muslim interpretations, injecting what Muslim scholars have taught over the years. A biased translation/interpretation of the Koran will only obscure this, be much less useless (Accad, pg. 61) and make this method difficult for the uninformed Christ follower.

Caution: Be wise as serpents – harmless as doves.

If we’re going to building bridges to Christ for the worldwide Muslim population, we desperately need to use a method that taps into their very real desire to please God

Saying “God’s Son” (eg. John 3:16) without explanation – when a Muslim hears that he assumes that you mean that God had intercourse with a woman who might happen to have Mary, Jesus’ mother (Accad, pg. 9).

Muslims believe there is one way – God’s way. So if someone comes saying “Islam is wrong. ‘Allah is not God’. You have to accept Jesus, God’s Son. He’s the only way to God.” A Muslim turns him off at once, because he is contradicting what the Muslim has been taught as God’s holy truth. (Accad, pg.

Do you believe that Mohammad was a prophet? Answer: If you mean ‘Do I believe that Muhammad is a prophet like ________ believe it? Then my answer is no. But if you mean, ‘Do I believe that his was a prophet like the verse in the Koran says he was?’ then my answer is yes. See Poets 26:194-195 – “It says he was a warner in a clear Arabic tongue”. This approach uses a Muslims immense respect for Koran to move them to the point of being willing to study the Bible and eventually present a more accurate and appealing profile of Jesus Christ. (Accad, pg. 38)

Isaac or Ishmael: The only passage in the Koran that talks of this is Rangers 37:101-109. Note that the son is not named.

Baptism

…. But unfortunately our methods of communicating these truths in the past have so offended the vast majority of Muslims that they totally close their minds and become hostile to us. (Accad, pg. 11). It is important not to violate their high regard for Islam or the Koran. Even though you may make it quite clear that you love God, if you state reservations about either Islam or the Koran you are automatically suspect, and others will probably not open themselves up to your friendship. (Accad, pg. 36).Follow the Seven Principles.

This is a radically different, scriptural means of telling Muslims who Christ actually is and why he occupies such a prominent place in their Koran – without alienating them from their native culture

Reminders in using the Exposure to all the information from the 7 principles at once could turn someone against the individual ideas contained in them. Go through them one at time – don’t move onto the next one until your Muslim has fully understand and agreed with you on the current one.

The 7 Principles

:. (Accad, pg. 11).i. God has a purpose for your life.
ii. Sin separates us from God.
iii. We can’t save ourselves
iv. The cross is the bridge to life
v. God’s provision is a person
vi. Making Him ours
vii. What to Expect when we accept God’s Gift.

* Accad, Fouad Elias. Building Bridges: Christianity and Islam. Nav Press, Colorado Springs, CO 1997.

Description:

*

Islam is a growing religion in America with 5-8 million adherents here. Some sources say that it is the second biggest religion in the United States behind Christianity. That is why I believe we need resources as Christians to help us understand Muslims and how to reach out to them. This is where Building Bridges comes in very useful.

Accad shows Christians how to use the Qur’an as a bridge to the Bible and to faith in Jesus Christ in a short and concise way. The book is less than 160 pages and most chapters are around 10-12 pages in length. One can easily read a chapter a day. .

Accad gives the reader seven principles to share with Muslims. These include: God has a purpose for our lives, sin separates us from God, we can’t save ourselves, and four other principles. Accad also includes a very important and useful chapter dealing with the question of whether the Qur’an supports the Crucifixion of Christ.

Just to let readers know, this is not an in depth look at Islamic theology or history. There are other places to go look for that., In fact, if you are interested, you can email me about places to find that information. Building Bridges is a great introduction on how to share ones faith with a Muslim.’

St Francis Magazine Nr. 1 Vol. II (June 2006)

St Francis Magazine is published by Interserve and Arab Vision

http://www.stfrancismagazine.infohttp://www.interserve.org

www.arabvision.org 

* *

The Gospel, the Quran and You

Khal

īl ‘Abd al-Nūr1Have you ever listened to a recitation of the Quran and been amazed at its beauty and

majesty, wondered at its abiding grip on the hearts and minds of Muslims? Have you

watched as those who love this book kiss its cover and touch it to their foreheads, carry it

elevated above other books and never dare set it on the floor? Maybe you have felt

yourself entranced by its poetry and absorbed by its fluidity.

Or maybe you fall on the other side of the Quranic divide. Perhaps you are one

who finds no intrinsic beauty in the book and certainly nothing that would merit being

called a miracle. Your emotions toward those who blindly adhere to its doctrines could

be better described as pity. You wonder how this book could have grown to such a lofty

level of influence in Islamic society and long for the day when the doctrines the Quran

espouses will be displaced by the doctrines of grace.

Whatever your perspective on the Quran, we cannot deny that it is a book that

commands the reverence and obedience of millions of Muslims. It is the single most

pervasive and influential piece of literature in the Muslim world. Its proverbs and

sayings are known to literate and illiterate alike. It commands a respect in Islamic

society.

So it is only natural that those who wish to commend Christ to Muslims would

look to the Quran in an attempt to discover there elements that buttress their

understanding of the gospel.

Surely there is a Biblical precedent for this. The apostlePaul felt at liberty to quote the Greek poets. He had no qualms about using lines from

poetry and then radically interpreting them making application to the gospel. Even John

the apostle utilized the Greek “logos” in order to present Christ. It was a concept that

would have been familiar to some Jews of his time as Philo of Alexandria had

incorporated it in his writings in some detail.2 So, why should we not find in the Quran

anything that would further our ends of making Christ known and then use it liberally?

The argument makes sense.

Two works which advocate a liberal use of the Quran in evangelism are CAMEL

(an evangelistic methodology based on a few verses from Sura Al Imraan) and Building

Bridges written by Fouad Elias Accad. Both pieces have much to commend them and

this writer does not wish to dispute the fact that a multiplicity of approaches can be

effective in evangelism. However, I would like to sound a warning that while the Quran

can be a great friend in communicating the truth, it can also be an immense stumbling

block. Those who use the Quran masterfully (and they are few) will reap the rewards

while those who use it in ignorance may be shooting themselves in the foot!

This is the pseudonym for a North American missionary who served in the Arab World for two decades.

“The Word of God [logos theou] is above all the world; and it is the oldest and most original [genitatatos] of what has been made.” (Philo, Allegorical Interpretation 3.175)

St Francis Magazine is published by Interserve and Arab Vision

http://www.stfrancismagazine.infohttp://www.interserve.org

www.arabvision.org 

*

Shared by craig

About the submitter:
In his various writings, little by little, one mind, one heart, one soul at a time, Craig strives to break down and economic, social, cultural and religious barriers. Craig believes that whilst we should celebrate our differences, what we share in the form of our common humanity is way more important than what divides us.

He is currently “writing” ‘Jesus Meets Muhammad’.

The submitter’s blog (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) is at http://en.search.wordpress.com/?q=%22craig+lock%22&t=post and http://craiglock.wordpress.com

“What we believe is not nearly as important as how we relate, interact with each other… and how we live. Only when we can say, ‘I am first and foremost a human being, and second a Jew, Muslim, Shi’ite, a Sunni, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu ,or a Sikh…’ will we progress and break down barriers between peoples, nations and cultures, both east and west. Let not our beliefs , but our shared humanity (ALL of us) define who we really are. “

– craig

Together, one mind, one heart, one life at a time, let’s plant the seeds, the hope of a better and brighter future.

 

Building Bridges provides personal experiences based on a lifetime of understanding the Arab world as well as research and analysis of the texts of the Qur’an and the Bible to show the similarities between the two.

This book supplies the information, concrete examples, and insights necessary when dialoguing with Muslims. http://wisdomafrica.com/building-bridges-christianity-and-islam-book-summaryFouad Elias Accad , books, religion, faithBuilding Bridges: Christianity and Islam by Fouad Elias Accad  (Book Summary)

A Book “Review“: Building Bridges: Christianity and Islam by Fouad Elias Accad

December 30, 2010

 

A Book “Review“: Building Bridges: Christianity and Islam by

Fouad Elias Accad

(Paperback)

http://www.amazon.com/Building-Bridges-Fouad-Elias-Accad/dp/0891097953

 

Shared by craig

About the submitter:
In his various writings, little by little, one mind, one heart, one soul at a time, Craig strives to break down and economic, social, cultural and religious barriers. Craig believes that whilst we should celebrate our differences, what we share in the form of our common humanity is way more important than what divides us.

He is currently “writing” ‘Jesus Meets Muhammad’.

The submitter’s blog (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) is at

http://en.search.wordpress.com/?q=%22craig+lock%22&t=post and http://craiglock.wordpress.com

Can Muslims Follow the Biblical Christ and Still Be Muslim?

December 6, 2010

 

Can Muslims Follow the Biblical Christ and Still Be Muslim?

by

Aaron Taylor08-10-2010

http://blog.sojo.net/2010/08/10/can-muslims-follow-the-biblical-christ-and-still-be-muslim/]

Theology

biblical, biblical faith, blood of jesus, Christ, Christianity, Christians, evangelist, followers of jesus, forgiveness of sins, Gospel, heretics, holy war, Islam, Jesus, koran, Matthew, Messiah, Ministry, missionary, Movement, Muslim, muslim followers, muslims, New Testament, old testament, Peter, prophet, prophets, reform, reformation, Religion, religions, Sojourners, Stories, synoptic gospels, Theology, tradition, what it means to be a christian, what it means to be a muslim, word of god

Sharing Some Information on Some Major Religions of the World

July 30, 2010

Article Title: Sharing Some Information on Some Major Religions of the World

Submitted by: Craig Lock

Category (key words): religion, religions, religious tolerance, faith, beliefs, spirituality, religious unity, unity of religions, spiritual unity

The submitter’s blog (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) is at http://en.search.wordpress.com/?q=%22craig+lock%22&t=post and http://craiglock.wordpress.com

Other Articles by the submitter are available at: http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/user/15565 and http://www.ideamarketers.com/library/profile.cfm?writerid=981
(Personal growth, self help, writing, internet marketing, spiritual, ‘spiritual writings’ (how ‘airey-fairey’), words of inspiration and money management, how boring now, craig!)

Publishing Guidelines:

These writings may be freely published, electronically or in print.

*

SHARING SOME INFORMATION ON SOME OF THE MAJOR RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD

INTRODUCTION: Craig is studying the teachings of different religions (to find ‘common ground’/principles) and as he learns from his research, is sharing these notes in an attempt to ‘enlighten’ (himself and others).

Because … with understanding comes tolerance.

*

HINDUISM

The Four Holy Truths: There is pain and suffering in the world – like birth, death, sickness, old age. Root cause of suffering is DESIRE. Karma is conscious action that has spiritual results. Karma consists of a persons acts and their ethical consequences + universal justice, a kind of natural moral law, rather than through a system of divine judgement. The struggle and suffering decreases as the individual acquires merit and wisdom during their life. Release from suffering. Nirvana is a complete detachment from desires and final nirvana is attained at death. Hindus renounce worldly desires. (Release = ‘moksha’)

8-fold path: right · views · resolve · speech · behaviour · occupation · effort · contemplation and · meditation. People attain a state of perfection. Through self effort one can attain the state of peace and eternal peace called Nirvana. Buddha ignored the worship of Gods, but did not deny their existence. What was important to Buddha was not the worship of Gods or of himself, but the following of his teachings. Nirvana is not a place like heaven, but a state of being. It’s eternal – the end of suffering – no desires and individual consciousness comes to an end. It’s more of a moral philosophy, an ethical way of life.

*

BAHAI The nature of God is completely unknowable – he/she/it is transcendant to the point of total inaccessibility. Prophets are teachers – not saviours. God cannot incarnate himself and reveal himself to man. Therefore Jesus cannot be God. Jesus is seen as one of God’s manifestations sent to human beings to assist in our spiritual evolution. The raising of the body of Jesus was actually the coming to life of Christ’s teachings in the disciples, the restoration of their beliefs and conviction.

BAHAI work for world peace and believe in freedom of expression.

*

MORMONS: Definition of the Trinity as 3 seperate individuals, God the Father and Jesus Christ being physical persons united in purpose; also a belief that human beings, can, if they live the commandments of God to the full, attain the status of godhood in future aeons.

*

JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES

The main purpose of Jesus coming to earth was to let it be known that he is supreme and exercises sovereignity over the universe. Salvation is only for those who believe in Jesus.

*

MUSLIMS (ISLAM)

Muslims regard the Koran as the speech of God to Mohammed, mediated by Gabriel, the Angel of Revelation. They believe that God himself, not Mohammed, is the author and therefore that the Koran is infallible. Collection of passages revealed in his prophetic life – 610-632. 114 chapters. Earliest teachings – one transcendant and personal God. Last Judgement and social and personal justice. God, he asserted, had sent prophets to other nations throughout history; but having failed to reform, these nations had been destroyed. Mohamed was the last prophet. Monotheistic. Well ordered, harmonious whole – everything has its proper place and limitations. God presides over and governs the universe, which with its orderly functioning, is the primary sign and proof of God and His unity. Mohammed’s miracle is the Koran, the like of which no human can produce. Last Judgement:

The “successful ones” will go to the Garden (heaven) and the “losers” (the evil) will go to hell; although God is merciful and will forgive those who deserve forgiveness. Besides the last judgment, which will be on individuals, the Koran recognizes another kind of divine judgement, which is meted out in history to nations, peoples and communities. Nations, like individuals, may be corrupted by wealth, power and pride, and, unless they reform, these nations are punished by being destroyed or subjugated by more virtuous nations. Islamic Beliefs: ONE God. Thus it’s a monotheistic religion. Muhammed proclaimed that Allah alone is God and that other idols were not to be worshipped. Muslims reject the Christian concept of the Trinity. Angels, who are sinless. God’s messages were brought directly to Muhammed by Gabriel. God is believed to be too exalted to speak directly with men. Belief in God’s prohets: Adam, Noah, Abraham, etc. The Koran is believed to be the exact revelation of God to humanity. Koran is believed to have taken the place of all previous revelations of God’s will – only the Koran is considered binding. A trumpet sounds – the dead will be raised and judged for their deeds – going to paradise or hell. Only those who die as martyrs slain in the battle for Islam are considered to be granted immediate access to paradise. Prosperous and evil nations will ultimately be destroyed by God. “Islam” means surrender or submission to the will of God. Muhammed was closest to God, so his example is to be followed. Muslims believe in and honour many of the prophets of the Old Testament. But they also say that the Bible must have been corrupted; because it points out the errant behaviour of these prophets, and since no prophet of God would ever err, the Bible must be wrong. Muslims have high respect for Jesus, but the view that Jesus is divine or the son of God is, to them, the highest blasphemy. The Koran says that God is not a man, therefore he cannot have a son. He would never stoop to enter our world. Story of Christ’s death reinforces their belief that the Bible has been corrupted over the years.

Basic tenets – the 5 pillars of Islam: · Confession of faith · Ritual prayer * Obligatory alms – ‘zakat’ to help those less fortune · The holy fast of Ramadan: a time where there is no smoking, drinking, swearing, anger, sex – use month of fasting to draw closer to God and renew their spiritual strength. · Pilgrimage to Mecca, the “Hajj”. Every Muslim who is not sick and can afford must complete. It is a time when all are deemed equal before God, regardless of social or financial position. As part of their purification process, participation heightens their social status.

* *

Sharing a few personal thoughts to end off..

Finally, perhaps no religion can ever represent the Absolute Truth (because ‘Absolute Truth’ has a degree of subjectivity – at least I believe so). Rather, religions can be different paths to the same Truth, with God, Infinite Spirit, the Grand Designer of Life at the centre. (Like spokes leading to the centre of the wheel!

God’s greatest gift to us is to find, then follow our own truths.

It’s not so much what we believe, but HOW, the ways we live

Shared by Craig Lock (“just änother arm-chair warrior for a better and more peaceful world”)

Former Archbishop in South Africa Desmond Tutu: “We have come to a time in the history of the world, where we need to rediscover the path to

“A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends and when the soul of a nation, long supressed, finds utterance.”
– Jahrulal Nehru, first Prime Minister of India

“”It is time for people of good will from every faith, culture and nation to recognise that a terrible danger threatens humanity. We must set aside the partisan bickering between nations and join together to confront the danger that lies before us.
Let us seek common ground between peoples around the globe…
because what unites us is far more important than what divides us.

In our own little ways in our individual lives we can touch so many others and share our common humanity. And in so doing we can illuminate the hearts and minds of humanity. We must offer a compelling alternate vision for the world: a bright future of justice, tolerance, respect for other traditions and values and especially a vision of goodness and hope fuelled by the flame of love – one that banishes the fanatical ideology of intolerance and hatred to the darkness from which it emerged.”
– Craig Lock (inspired by and adapted from the words of Abdurahman Wahid, former President of Indonesia)

About the submitter:
Craig loves to share information and insights to encourage others to be all they are capable of being. He’d love to try to ‘build bridges’ (not metal or wooden ones, thank goodness!) between people, firmly believing that what we share is way more important than what divides us.
The submitter’s blog (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) is at

Craig’s new manuscript, ‘A New Dawn’ is set in the Middle East: In it he attempts to find ‘common ground’/principles between different religions and cultures and to try to make some difference in building bridges in an ever more dangerous, turbulent and uncertain world. A passionate story of

“Until there is peace among the religions, there will be no peace in the world.”

– The Dali Lama

These thoughts may be freely published, electronically or in print

“God is leading us to the light. What we learn in the darkness, we are to share in the eternal light.”

May you see God’s bright light on the road up ahead

 

THE BOOK OF ISAIAH (or as the Jews call the prophet Yeshayah ) *

June 7, 2010

THE BOOK OF ISAIAH (or as the Jews call the prophet Yeshayah ) *

* The so-called Old Testament is known to Jews as the Written Torah or the Tanakh.

Key words: Old Testament, Isaiah, Prophets, RH Schuller,
Possibiliity Thinkers Bible

“Hope is the anchor of the soul.”

The Book of Isaiah is a beautiful example of God’s strength and the promises He gave to the people, when they needed them most.
God sent the Prophet Isaiah to forewarn and prepare the people of Israel for the problems that were to beset them. Like a novelist foretelling his readers of future tragedies and events, God sent the prophet to announce the coming captivity by warring nations and the destruction of Jerusalem.
Throughout the historical narrative of these happenings is interwoven the thread of hope – the coming of the Messiah.

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”
– Isaiah 7:14 (New King James version)

Isaiah promises the people that the coming Messiah will bring them into a loving relationship with God (see Chapter 53)

In comparing their lives to the desolate wilderness area, the Prophet Isaiah promises that:
“Every valley shall be exalted
And every mountain and hill brought low;
The crooked places shall be made straight,
And the rough places smooth.”
– Is 40:4

God promises that even the most desolate and unfortunate life will become successful and productive with His power. God responds to our desperation. We can look to God for strength, for we know that the ultimate outcome is in His hands.

“Behold, I make all things new” (Rev 21:5)

Key word: “Salvation Is of the Lord”

“All we like sheep have gone astray.”

Key Chapter: Isaiah 53

“Also I heard the voice of the Lord saying:
‘Whom shall I send.
And who will go for Us?’

Then I said: Here am I! Send me.'”
6:8

THE DESERT – A GARDEN
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.”
– Is 40:8

God will make the deserts in our lives bloom with new growth… with perseverance and patience on our parts.

FACE REALITY WITH HOPE

Whether your problem is big or small, don’t run from it. Instead, face it and give it back to God. Today face reality with hope, and begin to turn your life around. Remember, with God all things are possible!

Light in a Land of Darkness
“The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light:
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined.”

“Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid.”
12:2

“Now go, write it before them on a tablet,
And note it on a scroll,
That it may be for time to come,
Forever and ever.”
30:8

*                     *

ON WINGS OF EAGLES

The psalmist compares God’s care for His people to the eagle’s wings. “Hide me me under the shadow of your wings.”
Ps 17:8

Attempt to do something great for God, even though you might fail, rather than do nothing and succeed.

“But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength.
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.”
40:31

“Behold My Servant whom I uphold
My Elect One in whom My soul delights!
I have put My Spirit upon him.
He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.”
42:1

“He will bring forth justice for truth.
He will not fail nor be discouraged
Till He has established justice in the earth.”
42:3,4

“I will bring the blind by a way they did not know;
I will lead them in paths they have not known.
I will make darkness light before them.
And crooked places straight.
These things I will do for them,
And not forsake them.”
42:16

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name:
You are Mine.”
43:1

“I will go before you
and make the crooked places straight.”
45:2

“All we like sheep have gone astray.”
53:6

“And He bore the sin of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors.”
53:12

“Then your light shall break forth like the morning,
Your healing shall spring forth speedily,
And your righteousness shall go before you;
The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
You shall cry, and He will say,
‘Here I am.'”
58:8

Shared by craig from the New Possibilities Thinkers Bible
by Paul D Dunn and Robert H Schuller (published by Thomas Nelson)*
All quotations New King James version

”The time of the singing of the birds has come.”

“Hope is the anchor of the soul.”

“ I don’t believe in God.”
I know God.”
– David Rosen, Jungian psycho-analyst

Sharing Some Beliefs About Islam (from A New Dawn)

March 26, 2010

Article Title: Sharing Some Beliefs About Islam (from A New Dawn)
Submitted by: Craig Lock
Category (key words/tags): Islam, The Everything Koran Book, religion, Duaa Anwar, faith, beliefs,  religious tolerance, spiritual unity, unity of religions
Web site: www.everything.com
The submitter’s new blog with thoughts and extracts from various writings is at

Other Articles are available at:
http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/user/15565 and
http://www.ideamarketers.com/library/profile.cfm?writerid=981
(Personal growth, self help, writing, internet marketing, spiritual, ‘spiritual writings’ (how ‘airey-fairey’), words of inspiration and money management, how boring now, craig

Publishing Guidelines:
All my articles may be freely published (with acknowledgment to the source, please). As I share, I learn myself.

“We share what we know, so that we all may grow.”

*

The following information was sourced from ‘The Everything Koran Book’ by Duaa Anwar
Adams Media Avon Masachusetts www.everything.com
It is included as an appendix to Craig’s manuscript ‘A New Dawn’.
*
ISLAM
The word “Islam” literally means submission (to the will of God) and is derived from the word “peace”.
“Prophetic personalities have always been particularly illuminated souls guided by God and whose lives stand as exemplars of the heights to which the human spirit may ascend. love and respect. Mohamed, like Jesus was a man sent to teach us how to draw even closer to God.
The words of the prophet Mohamed: “You will not enter Paradise until you believe. And you will not believe until you love one another.”
Prophets became more than mere spiritual guides – they became living proof of God’s continued love and mercy for humankind.
The message is in the teachings of Islam, rather than focussing on the messenger. “Muslims have no desire to turn their    prophets into gods and our worship remains for God alone.” All imparting the same essential teaching: a knowledge and love of God and a means by which we might live with one another in peace and justice.
Muslims strive to retain the beauty and purity of the divine message and the ‘sublime’ personalities that have sought to exemplify it. The life of the Prophet Mohammed emphasised the unity of humankind.
“Mohamed was entirely human, but saw that he had great spiritual, intellectual and social insight and was guided by God. We look to his example in ALL aspects of our lives – from religious observances through to the practical activities and realities of life: such as how we treat our families and friends, how we allocate our money and how we interact with our environment.”
Islam is a religion that espouses peace and teaches the importance of doing good work in the community.

*  *
Islam allows Muslims to protect Holy land through Jihad and it is the duty of Muslims to protect their land.
Islamic fundamentalism is the strict adherance to the teachings of the Koran and Sunnah.
Some misguided terrorists think that they are committing an act for which Allah will reward them greatly. The suicide bomber, eg, blows himself up, thinking that he’ll go straight to Heaven as a martyr for killing members of the enemy with him. They perhaps take this verse from the Koran out of context: “Those who believe do battle for the cause of Allah; and those who disbelieve do battle for the cause of idols. So fight the minions of the devil” (4:76). Though there is no truth in this interpretation that this means killing leads to reward, as the rule regarding killing of the innocent is crystal clear in the Koran: “Whosoever kills a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind” (5:32)
Jihad is not all about violence, as many believe. The concept reaches beyond fighting. Children are taught ‘jihad’ as part of their Islamic education – the true meaning of ‘jihad’ is exerting an effort for the cause of Allah. It literally means “striving” (for the cause of Allah) or “struggling”. This synonymn for “holy war” as used my the media is inaccurate and misleading. Although Jihad can take the form of physical struggle, in Islam the word is more commonly used to describe different, non-violent forms of Jihad.
It is within easy reach of any Muslim and they will be abundantly rewarded in Heaven.
Based on the KORAN and Sunnah, Jihad can basically be divided into 4 categories:
Jihad of the mind and heart
tongue
pen
and
Jihad in battle.
In Islam a person who performs any type of Jihad is called ‘Mujahid’ (or Mujahideen in plural). The term most applies to soldiers in a defensive battle to protect Islam. If a ‘Mujahid’ dies in confrontation, he becomes a ‘shaheed’, a martyr.
The Prophet Mohammed said: “He who is killed in defence of his belongings, or in self-defense, or for his religion is a martyr.”
‘Shaheed’ in Arabic: A martyr’s soul flies straight to Heaven according to the Koran. “Think not of those who are slain in the way of Allah, as dead.  Nay, they are living. With their Lord they have provision” (3:169). This promise by Allah    that all shaheeds go to Heaven strengthens the will of soldiers in battle. They know that if they die, Allah will take their soul right up to Heaven.
During wartime, many surviving Muslim soldiers report that they felt little fear, while they were combatting the enemy, because they had no fear of death. Because the Koran guarantees every martyr a place in Heaven.
It’s a defensive action only.
The Koran forbids Muslims from being aggressors in Surah 2, verse 190; but fully pushes them towards battle in verse 191; “And slay them wherever you find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter.”
Muslims are allowed to fight only under one of the following 3 conditions. There is a need for battle under certain occasions:
When
* Muslims are being opressed and are prevented from practicing their faith.
* There are efforts to eject Muslims from their property.
* A clear violent attack against Muslims is under way.
Information sourced from ‘The Everything Koran Book’ by Duaa Anwar
Adams Media Avon Masachusetts www.everything.com
*
I hope that this information may be of interest to you (as it is to me)…
Those of us who long for (and are passionate about) the ideals of moderation and religious tolerance will continue to hope for a better understanding of complex issues between people of different cultures and faiths through reasoned and ‘informed’ dialogue in a spirit of mutual tolerance and respect. God’s greatest gift to us is to find, then follow our own truths.
We can ALL nurture the real values common to ALL humanity: those highest ideals of tolerance, righteousness, justice, mercy and respect for all of life must surely triumph.
“Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one’s own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others.”
– John F. Kennedy
With UNDERSTANDING comes TOLERANCE
and
with TOLERANCE comes MORE UNDERSTANDING.
So
Let each one of us in our own ‘little ways’ attempt to build bridges rather than barriers, openness rather than walls. Let us look at distant horizons together in a spirit of openness, acceptance of our differences, helpfulness, co-operation, mutual tolerance, respect, trust, peace and especially in a spirit of love, the most powerful force in existence. Let our leaders and each ONE of us look at the future with a vision – to see things not as they are, but what they could one day become.
What divides us as fellow citizens on planet earth is not nearly as powerful as the force, the divine spirit that UNITES us: The Spirit of God, the Ultimate Source that let’s us accept and even celebrate our differences …
and let’s the Love of humanity within EACH one of us to conquer anything at all.
Shared by Craig Lock (“Information and Inspiration Distributer”)
“People fight and die for religion but they seldom LIVE for religion”.
– Jahrulal Nehru, former Prime Minister of India”
“The greatest good we can do for others is reveal the rich treasure inside themselves; so shine your own bright light on an often darkened world… with the highest level of humanity …and have great fun along the journey of life.”
About the submitter:
In his various writings Craig strives to break down and economic, social, cultural and religious barriers. Craig believes that whilst we should celebrate our differences, what we share in the form of our common humanity is way more important than what divides us.
“There is neither east nor west, tribe nor ethnicity, male or female, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist. Christian nor Jew. There is only a God-filled humanity.”
This Appendix is from Craig’s manuscript ‘A New Dawn’. He is currently writing true stories of life in the Middle East. And as he writes, is posting extracts on his new blog
at  http://en.search.wordpress.com/?q=22craig+lock%22&t=postwww.craiglock.wordpress.com
The various books that Craig “felt inspired to write” are available at http://www.creativekiwis.com/books.html
“Let each one of us build bridges rather than barriers, openness rather than walls. Let us look at distant horizons together in a spirit of acceptance, helpfulness, co-operation and peace. Let our leaders look at the future with a vision – to see things not as they are, but what they could one day become.”
“When people’s hearts are filled with love, the world is full of hope”
– craig

To end off…

I love these inspiring words, so will share with you…
“It is time for people of good will from every faith and nation to recognise that a terrible danger threatens humanity. We must set aside our international and partisan bickering and join to confront the danger that lies before us.
Our goal must be to illuminate the hearts and minds of humanity, and offer a compelling alternate vision for the world: a bright future that banishes the fanatical ideology of intolerance and hatred to the darkness from which it emerged.”
– Abdurrahman Wahid, former President of Indonesia, in the ‘Wall Street Journal’

Former Archbishop Desmond Tutu: “We have come to a time in the history of the world, where we need to rediscover the path to peace, and the path to peace can never be war. This pathway is lined with the concept of co-existence and co-inhabitance of the world.”
“A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends and when the soul of a nation, long supressed, finds utterance.”
– J.Nehru, first Prime Minister of India (1947)

Sharing Some More Information on Major Religions of the World SOME BASIC ISLAMIC BELIEFS

March 10, 2010

Article Title: Sharing Some More Information on Major Religions of the World
SOME BASIC ISLAMIC BELIEFS
Submitted by: Craig Lock
Category (key words/tags): Islam, religion, faith, beliefs, Jesus, Jesus Christ, religious tolerance, spiritual unity, unity of religions
Web site: http://www.islam-guide.com
The submitter’s new blog is at http://en.search.wordpress.com/?q=%22craig+lock%22 and craiglock.wordpress.com
Other Articles are available at:
http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/user/15565 and
http://www.ideamarketers.com/library/profile.cfm?writerid=981
(Personal growth, self help, writing, internet marketing, spiritual, ‘spiritual writings’ (how ‘airey-fairey’), words of inspiration and money management, how boring now, craig

Publishing Guidelines:
All my articles may be freely published (with acknowledgment to the source, please). As I share, I learn myself.

“We share what we know, so that we all may grow.”

The following info was sourced from http://www.islam-guide.com/frm-ch3-2-4.htm

Some Basic Islamic Beliefs
1) Belief in God:
The Arabic word Allah means God (the one and only true God who created the whole universe). This word Allah is a name for God, which is used by Arabic speakers, both Arab Muslims and Arab Christians. This word cannot be used to designate anything other than the one true God. The Arabic word Allah occurs in the Quran about 2700 times. In Aramaic, a language related closely to Arabic and the language that Jesus habitually spoke,4 God is also referred to as Allah.

Muslims believe in one, unique, incomparable God, Who has no son nor partner, and that none has the right to be worshipped but Him alone. He is the true God, and every other deity is false. He has the most magnificent names and sublime perfect attributes. No one shares His divinity, nor His attributes. In the Quran, God describes Himself:
Say, “He is God, the One. God, to Whom the creatures turn for their needs. He begets not, nor was He begotten, and there is none like Him.” (Quran, 112:1-4)

Chapter 112 of the Quran written in Arabic calligraphy.
No one has the right to be invoked, supplicated, prayed to, or shown any act of worship, but God alone.
God alone is the Almighty, the Creator, the Sovereign, and the Sustainer of everything in the whole universe. He manages all affairs. He stands in need of none of His creatures, and all His creatures depend on Him for all that they need. He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing, and the All-Knowing. In a perfect manner, His knowledge encompasses all things, the open and the secret, and the public and the private. He knows what has happened, what will happen, and how it will happen. No affair occurs in the whole world except by His will. Whatever He wills is, and whatever He does not will is not and will never be. His will is above the will of all the creatures. He has power over all things, and He is able to do everything. He is the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, and the Most Beneficent. In one of the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad , we are told that God is more merciful to His creatures than a mother to her child.1 God is far removed from injustice and tyranny. He is All-Wise in all of His actions and decrees. If someone wants something from God, he or she can ask God directly without asking anyone else to intercede with God for him or her.
God is not Jesus, and Jesus is not God.2 Even Jesus himself rejected this. God has said in the Quran:
Indeed, they have disbelieved who have said, “God is the Messiah (Jesus), son of Mary.” The Messiah said, “Children of Israel, worship God, my Lord and your Lord. Whoever associates partners in worship with God, then God has forbidden Paradise for him, and his home is the Fire (Hell). For the wrongdoers,3 there will be no helpers.” (Quran, 5:72)
God is not a trinity. God has said in the Quran:
Indeed, they disbelieve who say, “God is the third of three (in a trinity),” when there is no god but one God. If they desist not from what they say, truly, a painful punishment will befall the disbelievers among them. Would they not rather repent to God and ask His forgiveness? For God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. The Messiah (Jesus), son of Mary, was no more than a messenger…(Quran, 5:73-75)

What Do Muslims Believe about Jesus?

Web Site: http://www.islam-guide.com/frm-ch3-2-4.htm

Muhammad is not the father of any one of your men, but he is the Messenger of God and the last of the prophets… (Quran, 33:40)
Muslims believe that all the prophets and messengers were created human beings who had none of the divine qualities of God.

Muslims respect and revere Jesus (peace be upon him). They consider him one of the greatest of God’s messengers to mankind. The Quran confirms his virgin birth, and a chapter of the Quran is entitled ‘Maryam’ (Mary). The Quran describes the birth of Jesus as follows:
(Remember) when the angels said, “O Mary, God gives you good news of a word from Him (God), whose name is the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, revered in this world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near (to God). He will speak to the people from his cradle and as a man, and he is of the righteous.” She said, “My Lord, how can I have a child when no mortal has touched me?” He said, “So (it will be). God creates what He wills. If He decrees a thing, He says to it only, ‘Be!’ and it is.” (Quran, 3:45-47)
Jesus was born miraculously by the command of God, the same command that had brought Adam into being with neither a father nor a mother. God has said:
The case of Jesus with God is like the case of Adam. He created him from dust, and then He said to him, “Be!” and he came into being. (Quran, 3:59)
During his prophetic mission, Jesus performed many miracles. God tells us that Jesus said:
“I have come to you with a sign from your Lord. I make for you the shape of a bird out of clay, I breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by God’s permission. I heal the blind from birth and the leper. And I bring the dead to life by God’s permission. And I tell you what you eat and what you store in your houses….”(Quran, 3:49)
Muslims believe that Jesus was not crucified. It was the plan of Jesus’ enemies to crucify him, but God saved him and raised him up to Him. And the likeness of Jesus was put over another man. Jesus’ enemies took this man and crucified him, thinking that he was Jesus. God has said:
…They said, “We killed the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of God.” They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but the likeness of him was put on another man (and they killed that man)… (Quran, 4:157)
Neither Muhammad nor Jesus came to change the basic doctrine of the belief in one God, brought by earlier prophets, but rather to confirm and renew it.1

Sourced from http://www.islam-guide.com/frm-ch3-2-4.htm

Jesus in the Glorious Qur’an
Sourced from: http://www3.sympatico.ca/shabir.ally/new_page_24.htm
Introduction
The Qur’an tells us a lot of wonderful things about Jesus. As a result, believers in the Qur’an love Jesus, honour him, and believe in him. In fact, no Muslim can be a Muslim unless he or she believes in Jesus, on whom be peace.
The Qur’an says that Jesus was born of a virgin, that he spoke while he was still only a baby, that he healed the blind and the leper by God’s leave, and that he raised the dead by God’s leave.
What then is the significance of these miracles? First, the virgin birth. God demonstrates his power to create in every way. God created everyone we know from a man and a woman. But how about Adam, on whom be peace? God created him from neither a man nor a woman. And Eve from only a man, but not a woman. And, finally, to complete the picture, God created Jesus from a woman, but not a man.
What about the other miracles? These were to show that Jesus was not acting on his own behalf, but that he was backed by God. The Qur’an specifies that these miracles were performed by God’s leave. This may be compared to the Book of Acts in the Bible, chapter 2, verse 22, where it says that the miracles were done by God to show that he approved of Jesus. Also, note that Jesus himself is recorded in the Gospel of John to have said, “I can do nothing of my own authority” (5:30). The miracles, therefore, were done not by his own authority, but by God’s authority.
What did Jesus teach? The Qur’an tells us that Jesus came to teach the same basic message which was taught by previous prophets from God—that we must shun every false god and worship only the one true God. Jesus taught that he is the servant and messenger of that one true God, the God of Abraham. These Quranic teachings can be compared with the Bible ( Mark 10:18; Matthew 26:39; John 14:28, 17:3, and 20:17) where Jesus teaches that the one he worshipped is the only true God. See also Matthew 12:18; Acts 3:13, and 4:27 where we find that his disciples knew him as Servant of God.
The Qur’an tells us that some of the Israelites rejected Jesus, and conspired to kill him, but Allah (God) rescued Jesus and raised him to Himself. Allah will cause Jesus to descend again, at which time Jesus will confirm his true teachings and everyone will believe in him as he is and as the Qur’an teaches about him.
Jesus is the Messiah. He is a word from Allah, and a spirit from Him. He is honoured in this world and in the hereafter, and he is one of those brought nearest to Allah.
Jesus was a man who spoke the truth which he heard from God. This can be compared with the Gospel According to John where Jesus says to the Israelites: “You are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God” (John 8:40).
The Virgin Birth of Jesus
Muslims believe in the virgin birth of Jesus. When the angels announced to Mary (peace be upon her) about Allah’s promise that she will have a son, she was surprised, since she was a virgin. “How can this be?” she thought. She was reminded that it is easy for Allah to create whatever he wills.
She said: My Lord! How can I have a child when no mortal hath touched me? He said: So (it will be). Allah createth what He will. If He decreeth a thing, He saith unto it only: Be! and it is (Qur’an 3:47).
It is not difficult for Allah to do anything he wants. He can create a child with both human parents or only one. No miracle is beyond His power. After all, He had created Adam (peace be upon him) from neither a man nor a woman. He created the rest of us from both man and woman. What is so hard if Allah decides to create a human being from a woman only? He only commands “Be!” and it occurs.
Some people think that since Jesus, peace be upon him, had no human father then God must be his father. The Qur’an rejects this view. The position of Jesus with Allah is comparable to the position of Adam with Allah. Just because Adam had no human parent does not mean we should call him the Son of God.
Lo! the likeness of Jesus with Allah is as the likeness of Adam. He created him from dust, then He said unto him: Be! and he is. (Qur’an 3:59).
According to the Qur’an, everyone except Allah are His servants.
And they say: the Beneficent hath taken unto Himself a Son. Assuredly ye utter a disastrous thing, whereby almost the heavens are torn, and the earth is split asunder and the mountains fall to ruins, that ye ascribe to the Beneficent a son, when it is not meet for (the Majesty of) the Beneficent that He should chose a son. There is none in the heavens and the earth but cometh unto the Beneficent as a slave. (Qur’an 19:88-93)
The Miracles of Jesus
According to the Qur’an, Jesus, on whom be peace, performed the following miracles by Allah’s leave:
1. Spoke while he was only a baby.
2. Healed those born blind.
3. Healed the lepers.
4. Revived the dead.
5. Breathed life into a bird made of clay.
In the Qur’an Allah quotes Jesus, peace be upon him, as saying:
Lo! I come unto you with a sign from your Lord. Lo! I fashion for you out of clay the likeness of a bird, and I breathe into it and it is a bird by Allah’s leave. I heal him who was born blind, and the leper, and I raise the dead, by Allah’s leave. And I announce to you what you eat and what you store up in your houses. Lo! herein verily is a portent for you if you are to be believers.
And (I come) confirming that which was before me of the Torah, and to make lawful some of that which was forbidden unto you. I come unto you with a sign from your Lord, so keep your duty to Allah and obey me. Lo! Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. That is a straight path. (Qur’an 3: 49-51).
Again, in the Qur’an Allah tells us about the situation on the Day of Judgement:
In the day when Allah gathers together the messengers and says: What was your response (from mankind)? they say: We have no knowledge. Lo! Thou, only Thou art the Knower of Things Hidden.
When Allah says: O Jesus, son of Mary! Remember My favour unto you and unto your mother; how I strengthened you with the holy Spirit, so that you spoke unto mankind in the cradle as in maturity; and how I taught you the Scripture and Wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel; and how you did shape of clay as it were the likeness of a bird by My permission, and did blow upon it and it was a bird by My permission, and you did heal him who was born blind and the leper by My permission . . . (Qur’an 5:109-110)
Not all of these miracles are recorded in the canonical gospels, the four gospels contained in the Christian Bible.
The fact that Jesus spoke while he was yet a baby is not written anywhere in the Bible. This should not be surprising, because none of the Gospels can claim to recover every single event in the life of Jesus. Instead, the gospel According to John seeks to emphasize that the events were too many to record.
Similarly, the miracle of breathing life into a bird made of clay is not attested by the Christian Bible. This too should not make us wonder. It is obvious that the writers of the gospels could write down only the tradition that was available to them. Furthermore, they could not write down everything they knew about Jesus for they were writing on papyrus material that were very limited in length.
What is worthy to notice here is that the Prophet Muhammad, may peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him, was honest enough to promulgate this information about Jesus. The religion taught by God through Muhammad would deny the divinity of Jesus. Any human being, therefore, who wished to deny the divinity of Jesus would have tried to belittle Jesus. Since Christians looked upon the miracles of Jesus as a proof of his divinity, we might expect that any human being who tries to deny the divinity of Jesus would not have informed people of miracles not previously known to them. He might have even tried to deny some of the miracles recorded in the canonical gospels. On the other hand, the prophet Muhammad honestly conveyed the message delivered to him from Allah. (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.)
Allah tells us the truth without fear. Human beings trying to win followers tell us only what is conducive to winning us over. They usually withhold information that could lead to opposite conclusions. On the other hand, Allah informs us about the miracles of Jesus even if people use this information to support their prior commitment to the doctrine of the divinity of Jesus. Allah does not need to win worshippers. Those who worship Allah does so for their own good. And those who worship false gods do so to their own detriment.
What Allah emphasizes, though, is that the miracles of Jesus do not prove he was divine. The miracles he performed were a sign, a proof, that he was God’s messenger. He performed them with God’s help and permission. Those who use his miracles as proof of his divinity would choose to forget the following sayings of Jesus:
I can of my own authority do nothing. (John 5:30)
They also forget the declaration of Peter:
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 know. (Acts 2:22 KJV).
These passages suggest that Jesus did not do miracles on his own. These, rather were accomplished by God’s leave. Allah reminds us of this. Jesus also constantly repeated to his audience that the miracles he performed were by God’s leave.

Sourced from: http://www3.sympatico.ca/shabir.ally/new_page_24.htm
*
I hope that this information may be of interest to you (as it is to me)…

Those of us who long for (and are passionate about) the ideals of moderation and religious tolerance will continue to hope for a better understanding of complex issues between people of different cultures and faiths through reasoned and ‘informed’ dialogue in a spirit of mutual tolerance and respect. God’s greatest gift to us is to find, then follow our own truths.

We can ALL nurture the real values common to ALL humanity: those highest ideals of tolerance, righteousness, justice, mercy and respect for all of life must surely triumph.

“Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one’s own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others.”
– John F. Kennedy

With UNDERSTANDING comes TOLERANCE
and
with TOLERANCE comes MORE UNDERSTANDING.

So
Let each one of us in our own ‘little ways’ attempt to build bridges rather than barriers, openness rather than walls. Let us look at distant horizons together in a spirit of openness, acceptance of our differences, helpfulness, co-operation, mutual tolerance, respect, trust, peace and especially in a spirit of love, the most powerful force in existence. Let our leaders and each ONE of us look at the future with a vision – to see things not as they are, but what they could one day become.

What divides us as fellow citizens on planet earth is not nearly as powerful as the force, the divine spirit that UNITES us: The Spirit of God, the Ultimate Source that let’s us accept and even celebrate our differences …
and let’s the Love of humanity within EACH one of us to conquer anything at all.

Craig Lock (“Information and Inspiration Distributer”)

” People fight and die for religion but they seldom LIVE for religion”.
– Jahrulal Nehru, former Prime Minister of India”

“The greatest good we can do for others is reveal the rich treasure inside themselves; so shine your own bright light on an often darkened world… with the highest level of humanity …and have great fun along the journey of life.”

About the submitter:
In his various writings Craig strives to break down and economic, social, cultural and religious barriers. Craig believes that whilst we should celebrate our differences, what we share in the form of our common humanity is way more important than what divides us.

“There is neither east nor west, tribe nor ethnicity, male or female, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist. Christian nor Jew. There is only a God-filled humanity.”

Craig is currently writing true stories of life in the Middle East. And as he writes, is posting extracts on his new blog
at http://en.search.wordpress.com/?q=%22craig+lock%22
and craiglock.wordpress.com

The various books that Craig “felt inspired to write” are available at http://www.lulu.com/craiglock and http://www.creativekiwis.com/books.html

“Let each one of us build bridges rather than barriers, openness rather than walls. Let us look at distant horizons together in a spirit of acceptance, helpfulness, co-operation and peace. Let our leaders look at the future with a vision – to see things not as they are, but what they could one day become.”

“When people’s hearts are filled with love, the world is full of hope”
– craig

“Someday, after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tide and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love. Then, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.”
– Teilhard De Chardin

“God is leading us to the light. What we learn in the darkness, we are to share in the eternal light

May the Grace of our loving Creator care for and watch over you ALL… always

Let Moderate Islam be Heard: Husain

March 1, 2010

Let moderate Islam be heard: Husain
Sourced from http://www.nzherald.co.nz/islam/news/article.cfm?c_id=500817&objectid=10480042&pnum=0

Mainstream Muslims need to conquer their fear of radicals and end the madness, says Ed Husain

Key words (Tags) : Ed Husain, Muslims, Moderate, Islam, Religion, Beliefs, Observer, New Zealand Herald

Muslims who live in Europe have a moral duty to present the true, benign face of their religion. Twenty out of 23 children chose to name their class teddy bear Muhammad. A rather sweet gesture, I think.
But no. In ultra-sensitive Sudan, parents and a staff member decided to complain against what they saw as a white, female, infidel British teacher insulting their religion. What was an innocent classroom gesture was, yet again, hijacked by Muslim extremists to threats of floggings and demands of shooting after Friday prayers in Khartoum last week.
Last year, it was the Danish cartoons. This year it is a teddy bear. What next? And why this repeated madness?
For me, it is not about the possible offence taken at perceived negative portrayals of Islamic symbols, but the repeated calls for death, lashings and stoning.
The medieval, literalist mindset that fails to comprehend the inhumane nature of these brutal and barbaric acts, often carried out against the defenceless, is the crux of the matter.

The Western media are right to hold a mirror to educated Muslims by highlighting these outdated practices. Only a week ago, a young Saudi gang rape victim, rather than being counselled and loved, was sentenced to 200 lashes.
If the young lady had been a wealthy Saudi with powerful connections, she would have escaped her punishment. Similarly, if Gillian Gibbons had not been British, there would not have been an outcry.
When Muslims want to appear sanctimonious about newspaper cartoons or a teddy bear, I ask where are the mass protests against the Saudi Wahhabite destruction of the birthplace of Muhammad in Mecca? Or the systematic annihilation of Muslim heritage in Medina? Or the organised desecration of the Prophet’s family’s tombs across Saudi Arabia?
We should not be hypocritical in our choice of protest. Mainstream Muslims cannot remain silent as our faith is destroyed by extremists from within, and mocked by agenda-driven, habitual Islam-haters from without.
We must have the courage to stand and reclaim our faith.
I write these lines from an international conference in Madrid, a city, like my home, London, that has suffered immensely from the Islamist-jihadist rage.
The ubiquitous question here has been: where is the voice of the Muslim majority? Part of the answer is that it is buried in fear of extremist reprisals and concern at breaking ranks with fellow Muslims only to be attacked by fundamentalist atheists for not going far enough.

Last week, I faced former Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who levelled exactly that criticism at me. How could I possibly believe? Another renowned British liberal called Islam “gobbledegook”. Despite being caught in crossfire between two extremes, I believe in a Muslim tradition, a spiritual path, that can bring harmony between Islam and the West and thereby rescue millions from misery, rigidity and oppression.
If anything, the modern West stems from a Judaeo-Christian-Islamic heritage. More than ever, Western Muslims need to stop viewing the world through bipolarised lenses – a them-and-us world view – and assert our Western belonging.

More than any other Muslim community across the world, those of us who were born, raised and educated in the west have access to both cultures – Islam and the West. It is my generation that can bridge the gap between what seem like warring parties.

The presence of millions of Muslims in the West is an asset. But Western Muslims must, in the words of Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, “build our home together” with fellow citizens of all and no faith.
It is our common bond, being human, which comes first. Our future must be a negotiated one. The Koran repeatedly calls us to think, contemplate and reflect
. For how much longer will we be the laughing stock of the world? And all over a teddy bear.

* Ed Husain is author of The Islamist, a book published this year describing his becoming an Islamic fundamentalist, but rejecting it five years later.
– Observer

from http://extremistformoderation.wordpress.com/

“Whilst we can (and should) celebrate our differences (unique), let not our varying beliefs divide us, but let the Spirit of our shared humanity be what defines and unites us all as common citizens of our planet.”

from http://www.craigsquotes.wordpress.com

“Together, one mind, one heart, one life, one small step at a time, let’s link hands and march into a new tomorrow, a better and brighter future. TOGETHER we can do it”

– c
from http://breakdownwalls.wordpress.com/

“Instead of the limits of borders (of countries and of our minds) let us and our leaders expand our sense of possibility… and together let’s look at building bridges to distant horizons, far and great. Lord, help us all lift our eyes a little higher.”

from http://www.mandelamadiba.wordpress.com

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