What Christianity and Islam have in common

Inter-religious meeting in a church

24 May 2012, Paris, France — Inter-religious meeting in a church — Image by © Pascal Deloche/Godong/Corbis

There are many people today who argue Islam and Christianity are locked in a civilizational war, a view that has become a rationale for a number of the Trump administration’s policies.

This argument, however, is an inaccurate and simplistic assessment of the relationship between these two faiths. Quite distinct from the apocalyptic struggle many espouse, an examination of the foundations of the Islamic faith shows respect for Christianity.

Islam is part of the same Abrahamic tradition as Christianity. Key figures within the Bible — Abraham (Ibrahim), Moses (Musa), Mary (Maryam), and Jesus (Isa) among others — are all respected prophets and figures within Islam. There is a chapter in the Quran about Mary and, within the Quran, Jesus is the only person who can perform miracles.

Within Islam, Christians and Jewish people are therefore treated as “People of the Book” whose rights and religious traditions were to be fully protected as monotheistic faiths with revelations understood to be earlier versions of the same revelation to the Prophet of Islam.

In search of the Muslim Gandhi

11B-Mahatma-Ghandi_enIn Gandhi’s lifetime, there were enough Muslim Gandhis. How can their message be reclaimed in these troubled times?

Historically, however, Islam, like all other religions, including Judaism, Christianity and Hinduism, has shown both tolerance and intolerance towards other religions and communities. History provides us with many examples of Muslim tolerance towards other faiths. For more than a century during the Middle ages, for instance, Cordoba (in Spanish Andalusia) witnessed a great flowering of religious freedom, which, while not perfect, was tolerant enough to accommodate many Jewish and Christian intellectuals, who lived and wrote and flourished side-by-side with their Muslim counterparts in a strikingly pluralistic society.

The cultural legacy of Cordoba is impressive in its scale and splendour and remains a successful model of associative reconciliation and nonviolent cross-cultural learning that we see being put into action during the Moghul period in India and later by Muslims who collaborated with Mohandas Gandhi in the Indian Independence movement.

IDENTITY AND ISLAM

1568139680494University of Delaware professor seeks to reframe religious narrative

In the days, months and years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Muqtedar Khan found himself grappling with an unrelenting question of faith and identity: “If al-Qaeda, ISIS, and all the human rights violations committed in the name of Islam are not my faith,” he would ask himself, “then what is?”

The University of Delaware professor of international relations calls his most recent book, Islam and Good Governance, “my much-delayed response.”

“Islam and Good Governance: A Political Philosophy of Ihsan,” was published in April 2019
“Islam and Good Governance: A Political Philosophy of Ihsan,” was published in April 2019

Simultaneously an endorsement of religious and political freedom and an academic reinterpretation of the Quran, the book seeks to reclaim the beauty, mysticism and virtues of Islamic teaching through a concept Khan said he believes, “Muslims have not yet understood — or simply ignored.”

That concept is Ihsan, taken from the Quran passage that says, “God is with those who do beautiful deeds.” In Islamic tradition, it also lives in the words of the prophet Muhammad, who was asked by the angel Gabriel to define Ihsan: “To Worship Allah as if you see him; and if you can’t see Him, know that He sees you.”

Rethinking the Muslim religion through this lens will require a fundamental philosophy shift, Khan said. Ihsan goes against how many economies and institutions have evolved over centuries. It stands in opposition to how the Muslim world is perceived and understood.

“An Islamic State is currently one where Islamic Law is enforced — and these are laws that come from the medieval understanding of Islam. Until we change that, we will never have good governance,” he said. “It is unfair of Muslims to demand non-Muslims bypass realities like ISIS and al-Qaeda and discover true Islam. Muslims must manifest what it is. The Prophet has said three times that you’re not a Muslim if your neighbor is afraid of you.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE WEBSITE 

Change Comes to Islam’s Birthplace, and the World Watches Warily

downloadThe world’s 1.8 billion Muslims look to one country above all others.

As the birthplace of Islam, Saudi Arabia is a symbol of purity for many who direct their prayers toward Mecca wherever they are in the world.

Saudi Arabia Opens to Foreign Tourists — and Their Foreign Ways

As they awoke to the news on Friday that women from outside the kingdom would no longer be required to wear the flowing abaya that’s been mandatory for decades, Muslims in Asia broadly welcomed the shift. But many also expressed misgivings about the overall direction of the lodestar of the Islamic world, and wondered just how far the changes would go.

“I view Saudi Arabia as the most sacred place for a Muslim,” said Amirah Fikri, 30, an administrator in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, who called the kingdom “an example of a Muslim country in the eyes of the world.”

While reforms such as allowing women to drive and to travel without a guardian’s approval are positive, some things “are better left unchanged,” she said. The risk is of “harming the purity of Saudi when new, non-Islamic practices start to spread in the holy place.”

Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Photographer: Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images

Khashoggi Murder

The Saudi bid to appeal to tourists with a relaxed dress code for foreign women and the promise of easier access to the country is aimed at diversifying the economy away from its overwhelming reliance on oil. But it also serves to present a softer image of the kingdom to the west at a time when its reputation is distinctly mixed.

FULL ARTICLE FROM BLOOMBERG

Three Common Questions All Muslims Ask That Christians Must Be Able to Answer

Engaging with Muslims is not something many Christians are willing to do when it comes to evangelizing and having deeper conversations on theology.

Much of that hesitancy comes from the fact that we just aren’t familiar with the approach the Muslim will take when discussing Christianity. Christian apologist, speaker, and author Andy Bannister hopes to change that.

He points Christians to a few of the more common questions Muslims ask in order to prepare them for engaging Muslims in future interfaith discourse.

At a recent event with Reboot Ministries, Bannister, who frequently preaches to and spend time with the Muslim community in the U.K., mentioned the three most commonly asked questions he receives:

  1. “Hasn’t the Bible been corrupted and changed?”
  2. “Isn’t Muhammad mentioned in the Bible?”
  3. “Why do Christians worship Jesus?”

The apologist proceeded to answer these questions, addressing the audience filled with teenagers.

Bannister pointed out that the question “Hasn’t the Bible been corrupted and changed?” is often asked because Islam teaches that the Bible has been corrupted over time.

“The reason they raise this question in the first place is because when Muhammad, the founder of Islam, was preaching between 610 and 632 AD, what became Islam and what became the Quran, he claimed that his message, his new Quran, was identical to the Bible,” he shared.

FULL ARTICLE FROM FAITHWIRE

Why the de-faithing of Islam is a threat to all America’s religions

  • Asma T. Uddin explores religious freedom — or the lack thereof — in her new book, When Islam Is Not a Religion: Inside America’s Fight for Religious Freedom.
  • She identifies and dispels myths surrounding Islam that attempt to weaken the rights of Muslims, such as the idea that Islam is a monolith, or is not a religion at all.
  • It’s important to understand that religious freedom primarily involves a relationship between the government and religious individuals or organizations. This differentiates it from religious pluralism or tolerance.

Hanaa-Unus-18In the aughts, a number of Christian conservative figures, including Pat Buchanan and Austin Ruse, were aligning their political-religious worldview with Islam in an attempt to separate from liberal Democrats. Just over a decade later, the same men were branding Islam as a purely political system while claiming it’s actually not a religion at all—and thereby not protected by American religious liberty laws.

Such a pivot has important consequences. If Islam is, in the eyes of the courts, deemed to not be a religion, then Muslims are longer protected by the freedom of religion clause. While such a notion seems absurd given that Islam is the planet’s second largest faith, there is precedent for this argument, writes lawyer and scholar Asma T. Uddin in her new book, When Islam Is Not a Religion: Inside America’s Fight for Religious Freedom.

Myth 1: Islam is not a religion

Uddin knows this topic well. In 2010, she represented the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, which was building a new mosque roughly 30 miles outside of Nashville. Having outgrown its previous facility near Middle Tennessee State University, members raised $600,000 for a new complex. Then the vandalism began.

FULL ARTICLE FROM BIGTHINK.COM

A church, a synagogue and a mosque to share interfaith complex in Abu Dhabi

HigherCommittee1The United Arab Emirates unveiled plans this weekend for an interfaith complex in Abu Dhabi that will unite a church, a synagogue and a mosque.

The announcement of the three houses of worship, collectively known as the “Abrahamic Family House,” follows Pope Francis’ February visit to the UAE, the first papal visit to the Arabian Peninsula. During the visit, Pope Francis and the grand imam of al-Azhar, Dr. Ahmed el-Tayeb, signed a declaration to form an interfaith council called The Higher Committee of Human Fraternity.

The Abrahamic Family House, set to be completed on 2022, is the first initiative by the new committee, according to media reports.

The Abrahamic Family House to be built in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

The Abrahamic Family House to be built in Abu Dhabi, UAE. (PRNewsfoto/The Higher Committee for Human Fraternity)

“The formation of the Committee has come at an important time and has required all peace lovers to unite and join the efforts to spread coexistence, brotherhood, and tolerance throughout the world,” Judge Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Salam, committee member and former advisor to el-Tayeb, said in a statement.

FULL ARTICLE FROM FOX NEWS