Not on Your Life!
By Louis Palme
Oct 12, 2007
The Royal Aal Al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought in Jordan has issued a declaration signed by 138 Muslim scholars called \u201cA Common
Word Between Us and You\u201d urging Christians to focus on similarities between Islam and Christianity as a means of achieving greater
cooperation, understanding, and \u201cinterfaith dialogue.\u201d (Seeww w. ac o m m o nwo r d. c o m.) The theme is taken from the Christian New
Testament text in which Jesus commands his followers to love God and to love their neighbors as the two greatest commandments. The
declaration asserts, \u201cIslam and Christianity not only share the same Divine Origin and the same Abrahamic heritage, but the same two
What follows in this declaration is a lame attempt to demonstrate that Islam embraces the same two great commandments. As will be
shown below, Islam actually stands for theo ppo si te of these fundamental principles. The fact that 138 Muslims scholars must cite
Christian principles in order to counteract the increasing apprehension about and aversion to Islamic doctrines (what they call
\u201cIslamophobia\u201d) is in itself a testimony to the bankruptcy of Islam as a positive doctrine or belief.
The relationship between man and God in Christianity is that of a son and a Father. The \u201cLord\u2019s Prayer\u201d begins with the words, \u201cOur
Father. . .\u201d God has adopted his followers, and they not only love him, but they are his rightful heirs, entitled to all that He can provide.
(See 1 John 4:1-20 and Romans 8:14-17)
On the other hand, the relationship between man and God in Islam is that of a slave and his master. Islam is about \u201csurrendering\u201d to
God. (See Surahs 2:136 and 6:18) The \u201ccommon word declaration\u201d can cite only two instances where believers have \u201clove for God\u201d in
Surah 2:165 and 3:31, but these instances arede sc ript iv e statements rather thanc o m m a ndm e n ts. Much more common is the
commandment to \u201cfear God,\u201d as provided in Surahs 2:194, 9:36, 64:16, and elsewhere. To really appreciate the extent to which the fear
of God is operative in Islam, readers should read Mohammed\u2019s final sermon to his followers in which he commands his followers to fear
God no less than eight times. (See al-Tabari\u2019s History, Vol. VII, Paragraph 1258)
Throughout the \u201ccommon word declaration\u201d is a sub-text about God having no associates. This is really a thinly veiled denial that Jesus is
the Son of God, the central tenant of Christianity. So any Christian who naively endorses this declaration is in effect ascribing to the
Muslim beliefs that Jesus was just another prophet and that Jesus has no role in mankind\u2019s salvation.
The Christian\u2019s love for his neighbor is legendary. In fact, the expression \u201cGood Samaritan\u201d is taken from Jesus\u2019 parable about a despised minority Samaritan coming to the aid of a Jew who had been beaten and robbed on the road to Jericho. While the \u201ccommon word declaration\u201d quoted two Christian scriptures containing Jesus\u2019 commandment to love one\u2019s neighbor (Matthew 22:38-40 and Mark 12:29- 31), the declaration carefully avoided the only citation that went on to define actually who is one\u2019s neighbor. This is critical. One\u2019s neighbor isn\u2019t just someone of thes am e faith or community, but rather includes also those ofdi ffe ri ng races and religious beliefs. (See Luke 10:25- 37) The point of the \u201cGood Samaritan\u201d story is that loving one\u2019s neighbor for Christians means loving people regardless of their religion or race. When Indonesia and neighboring Muslim countries were struck by a tsunami in December, 2004, killing almost a quarter of a million people, the bulk of the relief aid came from Christian countries. Of the $4.8 billion pledged for relief, less than 4% of the pledges came from Muslim countries.
While Christians are taught to truly love their neighbors regardless of race or religious belief, the Quran commands Muslims to do just the opposite: \u201cBelievers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them.\u201d (Surah 9:123) \u201cBelievers, take neither Jews nor Christians as your friends.\u201d (Surah 5:51) Similar commandments can be found in 3:28, 3:117, 4:138, 5:80, 58:14, and 60:13. There is clear a distinction in Islam between the treatment of unbelievers as opposed to fellow Muslims. Surah 48:29 says, \u201cMohammed is God\u2019s apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another.\u201d
The \u201ccommon word declaration\u201d could not cite a single verse from the Quran commanding Muslims to love their neighbors, but quoted a corrupted hadith collected by Bukhari which supposedly says, \u201cNone of you has faith until you love for your brother what you love for yourself.\u201d Taken at face value, this statement isn\u2019t about loveo f one\u2019s neighbor as much as it is lovefo r your neighborwh at you would lovefo r yourself. The closest actual Bukhari hadith is Vol. 1, Number 12, which says, \u201cThe Prophet said, "None of you will have faith till he wishes for his (Muslim) brother what he likes for himself." This hadith says nothing about love for one\u2019s neighbor.
Finally, the declaration cites Surah 60:8 which contains a double negative \u2013 that Muslims areno t forbidden to be kind and equitable to those who haveno t fought against Muslims or driven Muslims from their homes. Further, this verse contradicts the eight other verses cited above. It does little to convince non-Muslims that Muslims are sincere about developing a peaceful relationship between Muslims and Christians.
The \u201ccommon word declaration\u201d closes by resorting once again to a Christian principle: \u201cBlessed are the peacemakers.\u201d (Matthew 5:9) The signers of the declaration appeal to Christians, \u201cLet us vie with each other only in righteousness and good works. Let us respect each other, be fair, just and kind to one another and live in sincere, peace, harmony and mutual goodwill.\u201d This is a desirable objective to which all sincere Christians would ascribe, but it flies in the face of the nearly 10,000 individual acts of deadly Islamic terrorism that have been perpetrated since 9/11/01 (seew ww. the re li gio no f pe ac e . c o m.).
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