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Mosque Foundation

Between Muslims and Christians

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Between Muslims and Christians

Kifah Mustapha

In light of the dinner initiated by the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago honoring his eminence Cardinal Francis George on April 2, 2014, I wanted to share these thoughts that I hope will lay a foundation of understanding the relationship between the people of both faiths from an Islamic perspective:

Thou shall know each other

{Indeed, We have created [all of] you from a [single] male and female. Moreover, We have made you peoples and tribes, so that you may [come to] know one another. And. Indeed, the noblest of you, in the sight of God, is the most God-fearing of you. Indeed, God is all-knowing, all-aware} 49:13.

Imam Al-Aloosi says: “{So that you may [come to] know one another} is the reason behind {have made you}. We have been made of such, so we may know each other, strengthen kinship and clarify inheritance, not to grow arrogant in the pride of belonging to fathers and tribes.”

Knowing one another builds relationships, and relationships bring trust for the well-being of both communities. I recall a quote from the Cardinal’s speech which touched on this same point: “If relationships come, everything will follow.”

Thou shall be neighbors

{God does not forbid you from [honorable relationships with] those who have not fought you over religion, nor expelled you from your dwellings- that you relate kindly and equitably with them. Indeed, God loves those who are just} 60:8.

The term “Al-Birr” {relate kindly and equitably} is of the highest levels of ethics as concluded from many verses in the Holy Quran and the tradition of Prophet Mohammad (Peace and Blessings are upon him.) And in the verse mentioned above, the level of morality was guided by the concept of being {just}; and for the spirit of being neighbors which instills such values is the guide for the type of relations we are seeking between Muslims and Christians.

Thou shall be partners

{Rather, you shall help one another to virtuousness, and to the fear of God. But you shall not help one another to sin and to aggression. Therefor fear God} 5:2.

It was narrated that Prophet Mohammad (Peace and Blessings are upon him) witnessed a treaty made among the tribes of Quraish in support of the rights of merchants doing business in Mecca and of anyone being dealt with unjustly. He (Peace and Blessings are upon him) said later after being called for Prophecy: “I have witnessed an entente in the House of Abdullah son Jada’an; I would not have loved [as a substitute] the best of camels. And if I was called to join in it during Islam I would have answered.”

In light of the many values we share as Muslims and Christians, as well as the many challenges, we owe each other to come together to work as partners to bring the best outcomes for our community.

Thou shall be humans

{Yet very truly, We have so honored the Children of Adam: For We have carried them through the land and the sea. And We have provided them with all that is wholesome [in life]. And We have so favored them above most of what We have created with [such immense] favor} 17:70.

Being Children of Adam brings the human aspect, with all the natural composition and inclinations within us, to a level of respecting the kind, honoring the sacred, securing the needs and preventing harm to all of us.

Thou shall care for each other

{And you shall assuredly find that the nearest of [all of] them in genuine love to those who believe are those who say: We are, indeed, Christians. That is because there are among them priests and monks- and they do not grow arrogant} 5:82.

Such a humble status brings people close. It was narrated that the Prophet (Peace and Blessings are upon him) said: “The Day of Judgment shall start and (Al-Room) Christians are of the most in numbers on earth.” Amr son of Al-Aas said to the narrator: “If the Prophet (Peace and Blessings are upon him) said that, I also know four qualities about them: they are of the best of reasoning in times of trials, they are of the fastest comeback after disasters, they are quick in recovering after (war) loss, and they give good treatment for the poor, orphans and needy. And an extra great and beautiful fifth quality is that they are among the most rejecting to kings’ tyranny.”

For all great qualifications in relation to all that was mentioned, you shall care for such values as it reflects quality on all.

Thou shall belong in Homeland

{And to [the people of] A’d, [We sent] their brother Hud [as a messenger]. He said: O my people! Worship God [alone].} 7:65. {And to [the people of] Thamud [We sent] their brother Salih [as a messenger]. You do not have any God other than Him} 7:73.

We are brought together in a Homeland and a sense of citizenship that requires us to be united against all that is harmful to the community. Along the same lines we must join together in favor of all the good aspects of life for the community. From fighting crime to honoring rights of workers, and from standing firm against social moral diseases to preserving families, we as Muslims and Christians have lots of work to keep us busy.

Thou shall socialize

{Thus the food of those who have been given the Scripture is lawful for you. And your food is lawful for them} 5:5.

It is a clear invitation to break bread together and socialize in the spirit of being family, friends, neighbors, citizens and people of faith.

I hope and pray that the future will continue the ongoing partnerships between the Muslim and Christian Communities in Chicago and all around the world, and open doors for new ones.

Sh. Kifah Mustapha