Shira Sorko-Ram writing for Maoz Israel–a Messianic Jewish organization–,comments on a common Moslem practice.
We could ask ourselves, “What if followers of the god Zeus asked us to “engage with them in an interfaith discussion of love of their god Zeus and love of our God Jehovah – “a discussion that would support the important work of reconciliation between these two great religious communities.”.
Adar – Nisan 5775
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By Shira Sorko-Ram
Seven and a half years ago, 138 sheikhs, muftis, and a variety of Islamic imams, professors, judges and politicians from around the world reached out their hand of fellowship to the Christian world.
Their invitation, titled “A Common Word Between Us and You” began like this:
Muslims and Christians together make up well over half of the world’s population. Without peace and justice between these two religious communities, there can be no meaningful peace in the world. The future of the world depends on peace between Muslims and Christians.
The basis for this peace and understanding already exists. It is part of the very foundational principles of both faiths: love of the One God, and love of the neighbour. These principles are found over and over again in the sacred texts of Islam and Christianity. The Unity of God, the necessity of love for Him, and the necessity of love of the neighbour is thus the common ground between Islam and Christianity. The following are only a few examples:
Of God’s Unity, God says in the Holy Qur’an: Say: He is God, the One! / God, the Self-Sufficient Besought of all!. Of the necessity of love for God, God says in the Holy Qur’an: So invoke the Name of thy Lord and devote thyself to Him with a complete devotion . Of the necessity of love for the neighbour, the Prophet Muhammad said: “None of you has faith until you love for your neighbour what you love for yourself.”
The Muslim scholars then quoted Jesus, Yeshua the Messiah’s commandment of love:
In the New Testament, Jesus Christ said: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. / And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Therefore, opine the Muslim leaders, Allah instructs the Muslim people to issue a “call” to Christians and Jews.
In the Holy Qur’an, God Most High enjoins Muslims to issue the following call to Christians (and Jews – the People of the Scripture):
Say: O People of the Scripture! Come to a common word between us and you: that we shall worship none but God, and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside God. And if they turn away, then say: Bear witness that we are they who have surrendered (unto Him).
The Muslim leaders then call for a discussion of what is similar in both religions.
Thus in obedience to the Holy Qur’an, we as Muslims invite Christians to come together with us on the basis of what is common to us, which is also what is most essential to our faith and practice: the Two Commandments of love.
In this invitation to discussion, the Islamic leaders immediately set forth the central pillar of their faith:
The Testimonies of Faith
The central creed of Islam consists of the two testimonies of faith or Shahadahs, which state that:
There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God. These Two Testimonies are the sine qua non [absolute, essential, undebatable, Editor] of Islam. He or she who testifies to them is a Muslim; he or she who denies them is not a Muslim. Moreover, the Prophet Muhammad said: The best remembrance is: ‘There is no god but God.’
The Best that All the Prophets have Said
Expanding on the best remembrance, the Prophet Muhammad also said: The best that I have said – myself, and the prophets that came before me – is: ‘There is no god but God, He Alone, He hath no associate, His is the sovereignty and His is the praise and He hath power over all things.’ The phrases which follow the First Testimony of faith are all from the Holy Qur’an; each describes a mode of love of God, and devotion to Him.
So how should a true Christian or a Messianic Jew answer this invitation?