The Islamic Post has devoted many articles to the subject of interfaith relations, because the importance of this idea is tantamount to the survival of mankind.
We are living in a time where there are forces that are relentless in their resolve to destroy the fabric of humanity by causing strife between all of the major religions in the world, particularly between Christianity and Islam. The Muslims of the Americas are equally unyielding in their determination to prevent this inevitable clash by stressing the undeniable truth – that we are all one family.
As such, every year, the United Muslim-Christian Forum (UMCF) holds a rally, during which Muslims and Christians have interfaith dialogue about many subjects, especially the inseparable, Divine link between our faiths. The theme of the discussion this year was to present various points related to our beliefs about the second-to-last Holy Messenger of Almighty God, Jesus, son of blessed Mary and his mission, in order to establish a better understanding between the followers of Jesus, and the followers of the Holy Last Messenger Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of Almighty Allah be upon them.
This year’s featured speech, given by the Honorable Khalifa Hussein Adams, revealed that the word ‘importance’ is not strong enough to stress how vital interfaith dialogue is. It is absolutely imperative that we understand how connected we are – for the sake of the survival of humanity.
Contrary to current perceptions, Muslims believe in the Old and New Testament. However, we know that a group of people, known as the Bani Israel (tribe of Israel), corrupted the Bible and as well changed the laws in the Torah. Allah sent Jesus son of Mary to restore the law and propagate the truth. In order to thwart his mission, there were people among the Jews who brought to their Roman masters false allegations of sedition and rebellion against Jesus son of Mary. Today, there are groups within Islam and Judaism who do the same. A key concept in promoting this divide between Muslims and Christians is the idea of the Trinity. Like the essential books that guide our faiths, this idea was altered by the same group of people.
As Jesus is a role model for the Sufis, one great Sufi saint, Muhayyudin Ibn Arabi, may Allah be pleased with him, said of the ‘Nasaara’, or followers of Jesus, that they are not polytheists, but in fact, they worship three manifestations of One and the Same Almighty God. The trinity, then, actually represents three aspects of one Almighty God, and not three individual deities. An analogy is like a single path that is divided into 3 parts. Some see 3 separate roads and some see 3 lanes on the same road. This difference is, in fact, the very essence exploited by the devil, or Shaitan, whose very name means ‘to divide’, and he attempts to divide man’s belief in the Oneness of God, which is perpetuated, and manifested, as a division amongst mankind. He wants us to be separate, as a whole, so that it undermines our trust in the bond of fellowship of humanity, and our belief in Almighty God.
There are people who have strayed from the message of Almighty God’s unity cultivated and disseminated by Jesus, peace be upon him. This has been done with the intended purpose of causing discord. Sects of so-called Jews and Muslims (namely Wahhabis and Salafis), propagate their own agendas, with the clear purpose of instigating conflict between these inseparable faiths. These people cannot then be considered representative of their particular faiths, in that they do not demonstrate the belief of unity as exhibited by the practices of Jesus and the Holy Last Messenger Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon them. This means they, in fact, have the label of faith, but not its essence. This is not being said to promote strife, but it is truly out of love that this clarification is presented so that the wayward masses can gain understanding which will enable them to truly embody their beliefs, making apparent the message of true unity these faiths intend.
It is then not conceivable that a group of true Muslims would hold a rally damning Christians and likewise unthinkable for true Christians to hold conferences in which they attempt to establish Islam as a religion of terror. These gatherings and their sponsors do nothing but continue to perpetuate conflict.
It is crucial to our very existence that we come together and talk about what makes us the same, as opposed to what makes us different.
Love for all does not mean that we accept discord and conflict and the division they cause. Essential to this message of love and harmony, is that we are united in the idea that we are ‘all God’s children’, and that those who attempt to create the wedge of difference have simply lost their way. They are content with merely saying they believe, but offer no evidence of this claim. So the added benefits of interfaith discussions is that not only are we highlighting our similarities, we are identifying those who attempt to divide us and as well, give them a chance to find their way back to the true community Jesus, peace be upon him, intended.
So – the answer is yes! You are your brother’s keeper and as he goes, so shall you. We are thus required to come together in interfaith dialogue so that we come to realize that we are all children of Almighty God.
Failure to attain to this idea will lead to the ultimate destruction of humanity, so inter-faith discussions are not merely a choice – they are an obligation.
And as always, only by God, the Almighty and All Glorious, can we be healed.