A call for unity - 2
Members of the three revealed faiths, Jews, Christians and Muslims, make up a large part of the present-day population of the world. Allah has shown people the way by sending Messengers and holy books at various times. In this way, ever since the time of the first human being, the Prophet Adam (pbuh), people have been made aware of the existence of Allah and His commandments; and they have found the most true and wise answers to their questions about life in the true faiths.
Even though the true faiths contain different provisions, on the basis of the climate and conditions in the times when they were sent down, they still essentially offered the same belief and ethical model. They all told people essential truths regarding the existence, oneness and titles of Allah, the reason behind the creation of man and all other entities, how to serve Allah, the ideal behavior and way of living, the concepts of good and evil, true and false, how people should order their lives in this world, what to do to earn eternal life and other such matters.Although Judaism and Christianity gradually became corrupted over the course of time, they still preserve many articles of faith and moral values belonging to the true faith. The identification of common articles of faith and moral values among the holy books of the three divine faiths will enable their members to know one another better and feel a greater proximity to one another. The infrastructure required for an alliance among true believers in Allah will thus emerge.
Let us now briefly examine some of these shared articles of faith.
COMMON BELIEFS AND MORAL VALUES
ALLAH IS THE CREATOR OF EVERYTHING
Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, is He Who created very different life forms, brightly colored flowers, clouds bearing tons of water, the planets, and in short the entire universe, out of nothing. The matchless order, artistry and harmony in the universe are all proofs of creation manufactured by Allah. The fact that our Lord created all things is revealed thus in the Qur’an:
He to Whom the kingdom of the heavens and the earth belongs. He does not have a son and He has no partner in the Kingdom. He created everything and determined it most exactly. (Surat Al-Furqan: 2)
The same facts are revealed in the Gospel:
Allah, Who made heaven and Earth and sea and everything in them. (Acts, 14: 15)
The Torah also reveals that Allah created everything from nothing:
The Maker of heaven and Earth, the sea, and everything in them – the Lord, Who remains faithful forever. (Psalm, 146: 6)
ALLAH IS THE ONLY GOD
Muslims believe that there is no deity besides Allah. They worship only Him and seek to earn His approval. They know that our Lord is the only entity to be feared. Because Allah, Lord of the finest titles, reveals in the Qur’an that He is the One and only God:
Your God is One Allah. There is no deity but Him, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful. (Surat Al-Baqara: 163)
The Torah also states this fact in many passages, some of which are given below:
... This is what the Lord says: "I am the first and the last; apart from Me there is no god." (Isaiah, 44: 6)
.. so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other. (1.Kings, 8: 60)
Many statements in the Gospel also say that there is no other god than Allah, that He is the One and Only, and that believers must serve Allah alone:
... O, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.'" (Mark, 12: 29-30)
ALLAH'S PATH IS THE MOST RIGHTEOUS
Believers spend their lives under the guidance of the Qur’an and the Sunna. They act according to our Lord’s commands in the face of whatever befalls them. Because they know they can only attain happiness when they follow Allah’s path. As Allah reveals in the Qur’an:
This is the path of your Lord – straight. We have made the Signs clear for people who remember. (Surat Al-An'am: 126)
It is also revealed in the Gospel that Allah’s path is the true one:
But godliness with contentment is great gain. (1 Timothy, 6: 6)
This fact also appears in the Torah:
As for God, His way is perfect. (2 Samuel, 22: 31)
… For I will proclaim the name of the Lord; ascribe greatness to our God ! .. His work is perfect, and all His ways are just.. (Deuteronomy, 32: 3-4)FEARING ALLAH
No doubt, fearing Allah is one of the common and important qualities of all believers. In the Qur'an, Allah clearly describes the nature of this fear: a deep and genuine respect for Allah that causes them to refrain from doing things of which He does not approve and to strive to win His good pleasure and avoid His wrath. Striving to follow such a path shows the level of their fear and respect for Allah:The Qur’an commands believers to . (Surah Al 'Imran: 102) and “So fear [and respect] Allah, as much as you are able to...” (Surat At-Taghabun: 16).
The Gospel reveals that the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) stated that only Allah needs to be feared.
I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you Whom you should fear: Fear Him Who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into Hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him. (Luke, 12: 4-5)
One passage about fear of Allah in the Torah reads:
Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in His ways. (Psalms, 128: 1)
LOVE OF ALLAH
Every beautiful thing is the gift of Allah and a reflection of His beauty. All conscientious and thoughtful people submit to Allah, the true owner of this beauty, with great joy and love. Believers love Allah more than anything and anybody else, for they know that He created all of the beauty and the beings they love.
This conception of love that is unique to believers and that non-believers can never possess is revealed as follows in the Qur’an:
Some people set up equals to Allah, loving them as they should love Allah. But those who believe have greater love for Allah. (Surat Al-Baqara: 165)
The Book of Deuteronomy says this about love of Allah:
... The Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be [placed] in your hearts... (Deuteronomy, 6: 4-7)
The same is stated in the Gospel, as follows:
"Love God your Lord with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind."(Matthew, 22: 37)
BelIef In the Day of Judgment
Belief in the Hereafter and the Day of Judgment are central to Islam. All people will be resurrected in order to be judged on what they did in this world. On that day, people will be held personally accountable and will find no one to help them or shoulder their sins. Prophets and other witnesses will give evidence when people account for their deeds on Earth. Allah, Who is infinitely just, will judge each individual:
And Earth will shine with the Pure Light of its Lord, the Book will be put in place, the Prophets and witnesses will be brought, and it will be decided between them with the truth. They will not be wronged. Every soul will be repaid in full for what it did. He knows best what they are doing. (Surat Az-Zumar: 69-70)
The events of the Day of Reckoning are described as follows in the Torah:
The day of the Lord is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head. (Obadiah, 1: 15)
The following passages on the Day of Judgment are from the Gospel:
Nothing in all of creation is hidden from the Sight of God'. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to Whom we must give account. (Hebrews, 4: 13)
Modesty is a common attribute of believers, for Allah reveals that He disapproves of arrogant and vain people.
Believers know that Allah gives them all they have and that He is the One and true Owner of everything. Therefore they never surrender to vanity, because they know their helplessness in His Presence and that reason, knowledge, beauty, wealth, status, and all other desirable commodities originate with Him, not within themselves.
Allah reveals the believers' modesty, as follows:
The servants of the All-Merciful are those who walk lightly on Earth and, who, when the ignorant speak to them, say: "Peace." (Surat Al-Furqan: 63)
The Gospel reveals that modesty is important and that humble people are superior in His Presence:
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Ephesians, 4: 2)
One passage from the Torah on the subject reads:
Hear and pay attention, do not be arrogant, for the Lord has spoken. (Jeremiah, 13: 15)
TRUST IN ALLAH
Allah is the believers' best friend and helper. When they encounter hardship or troubles, and when they are in safety and tranquility, they know that He is with them and so turn only to Him with absolute trust and in complete reliance upon Him.
The fact that humility is an important attribute of believers is revealed in various verses of the Qur’an:
... Whoever has fear [and respect] of Allah – He will give him a way out. And [He will] provide for him from where he does not expect. Whoever puts his trust in Allah – He will be enough for him. Allah always achieves His aim. Allah has appointed a measure for all things. (Surat At-Talaq: 2-3)
And this is how the Gospel explain how it is meaningless for people to worry and how they must trust in Allah in all matters:
Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear... Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn. Yet God feeds them... Who of you, by worrying, can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? (Luke, 12: 22-26)
The Torah reveals that someone who turns to Allah and trusts and relies only on Him will be rewarded with success:
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land… Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this. (Psalm, 37: 3-5)
... Have faith in the Lord God and you will be upheld; have faith in His Prophets and you will be successful." (2 Chronicles, 20: 20)
UNDERSTANDING OF JUSTICE
Being just is one of the believers' most important qualities. Allah commands people to be fair with each other, even if this means going against their own interests or those of their relatives. Believers protect justice and prevent injustice, for, as Allah states in the Qur'an:
Allah commands you to return to their owners the things you hold on trust and, when you judge between people, to judge with justice. How excellent is what Allah exhorts you to do! Allah is All-Hearing, All-Seeing. (Surat An-Nisa: 58)
Justice is a subject much emphasized in the Gospel also:
Woe to you! You give a tenth of your spices – mint, dill, and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law – justice, mercy, and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter without neglecting the former. (Matthew, 23: 23)
This is how the importance of being just is set out in the Torah:
This is what the Lord says: "Maintain justice and do what is right." (Isaiah, 56: 1)
Blessed are they who maintain justice, who constantly do what is right (Psalms, 106: 3)
THE PROPHET JESUS' (PBUH) SECOND COMING
Like all the other prophets, the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) is a holy individual with lofty moral virtues, someone who is chosen in the Sight of Allah and sent to lead people to the true path. As a miracle from Allah, he was born with no father and, as a blessing from Allah, worked numerous miracles right from birth. One very important fact about Jesus the Messiah (pbuh) is that he will return to Earth in the End Times in which we are living. The glad tidings of the second coming of the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) are imparted in such a way as to leave no room for doubt in the Qur’an, in the hadiths of the Prophet Muhammad (May Allah bless him and grant him peace) and in the works of Muslim scholars.
THE PROPHET JESUS’ (PBUH) SECOND COMING TO EARTH IN THE QUR’AN
The Qur’an contains a great deal of information about the Prophet Jesus (pbuh). Some of the verses concerned read as follows:
When the angels said: »Mary, your Lord gives you good news of a Word from Him. His name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, of high esteem in this world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near.« (Surat Al’Imran: 45)
He will speak to people in the cradle, and also when fully grown (wakahlan), and will be one of the righteous. (Surah Al 'Imran: 46)… We gave Clear Signs to Jesus, son of Mary, and reinforced him with the Purest Spirit…(Surat Al-Baqara: 253)
In the Qur'an Allah reveals that the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) did not die and was not killed. Rather, he was raised up to Allah's Presence and will be returned to Earth at a time of His choice. Some of these verses and the truths to which they refer are as follows:
1. He [Jesus] is a sign of the Hour. Have no doubt about it. But follow me. This is a straight path. (Surat Az-Zukhruf: 61)
This verse signals the Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) return in the End Times, because the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) lived approximately six centuries before the Qur'an's revelation. Therefore, we cannot understand his first life as a sign of the Hour, or, in other words, a sign of the End Times. Given this interpretation, the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) will return in the End Times, in other words, in the period we are living in today and that this is a sign of the Day of Judgment. (Allah knows the truth.)
In addition, it needs to be stated that no prophet is referred to in the Qur’an as having knowledge concerning the Day of Reckoning. The lives of the Prophets Muhammad, Abraham , Noah, Moses, Solomon, Joseph, David, Jacob (peace be upon them all) and a great many others are described in detail in the Qur’an, but no such term is employed for any of them. This indicates that, by Allah’s choosing, the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) possesses an attribute different to the other prophets. That characteristic is that the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) will be sent back to Earth after being raised into Allah’s Presence.
When Allah said: ''Jesus, I will take you back and raise you up to Me, and purify you of those who do not believe. And I will place the people who follow you above those who do not believe until the Day of Resurrection. Then you will all return to Me, and I will judge between you regarding the things about which you differed." (Surah Al 'Imran: 55) Allah says that the Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) true followers will be superior to the unbelievers until the Day of Judgment. He only had a few followers while he was alive on Earth and, after his ascension to Allah's Presence, the true religion revealed to him was gradually falsified. During the next two centuries his followers were persecuted ruthlessly, for they did not have any political power. Therefore, we cannot say that the early Christians dominated the unbelievers and, therefore, that they were the subject of this verse. (Allah knows the truth.)
Today, Christianity is far from its original state as the real religion revealed to the Prophet Jesus (pbuh). In this situation, the expression „I will place the people who follow you above those who do not believe until the Day of Resurrection“, takes on a clear meaning: A community of the Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) followers will live until that time. This community will emerge on the Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) second coming and be preferred over the unbelievers until the Day of Judgment. (Allah knows the truth.)
There is not one of the People of the Book who will not believe in him before he dies; and on the Day of Resurrection he [Jesus] will be a witness against them. (Surat An-Nisa: 159)
This verse contains three promises in relation to the Prophet Jesus (pbuh), all of which have not yet been fulfilled: first, the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) will die like all other human beings; second, all People of the Book will believe in him before he dies. (Both of these prophecies will be realized when he comes again); and third, the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) will be a witness over the People of the Book on the Day of Judgment. (Allah knows the truth.)
He will teach him [Jesus] the Book and Wisdom, and the Torah and the Gospel. (Surah Al 'Imran: 48)
When we look at other verses to understand the meaning of Book in this verse, we realize the following: As it is used in conjunction with the Gospel and the Torah in the same sentence, it must stand for the Qur'an, as the verse below suggests:
He has sent down the Book to you with truth, confirming what was there before it. And He sent down the Torah and the Gospel. (Surah Al 'Imran: 3)
Many other verses state that wisdom and the Book were revealed to Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). The following is one such verse:
Allah has sent down the Book and Wisdom to you, and taught you what you did not know before. Allah's favor to you is indeed immense. (Surat An-Nisa: 113)
As the book revealed to Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was the Qur'an, the Book referred to in Surah Al 'Imran 3: 48, which the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) will be taught, is most probably the Qur'an. Given that the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) knew the Torah and the Gospel, obviously he will learn the Qur'an in the century in which we are living, on his second coming. (Allah knows the truth.)
"He [Jesus] will speak to people in the cradle and also when fully grown, and will be one of the righteous." (Surah Al 'Imran: 46)
The dictionary meaning of kahlaan, which denotes the adult stages of the Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) life, is between 30-50 years of age, at the borderline of youth and old age. Islamic scholars agree that this word denotes that part of a person's life that begins after one turns 35 years old.
Islamic scholars base their view on the hadiths, transmitted by Ibn `Abbas, that the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) was raised up to the heavens at the beginning of his thirtieth year and that he will live for another 40 years on his return. Scholars say that his old age will occur after his return to Earth. Therefore, this verse is a proof for the Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) return.
THE WISDOM BEHIND THE SECOND COMING OF THE PROPHET JESUS (PBUH)
The Prophet Jesus (pbuh) will remove all of Christianity's false beliefs and practices, free the Christian world from their errors, and call all people to live by the true religion; Islam and superior morality.
Together with Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh), he will instrumental in the moral values of Islam ruling the world. He will bring peace, security and justice to the whole world by forming an alliance among the members of the three divine faiths.
Islamic sources contain a great deal of information about the new world order to be established under the leadership of the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) and Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh). Many hadiths of Hazrat Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) also give the good tidings about the Prophet Jesus’ (pbuh) return. A few of them are given below:
The Hour will not come until you see ten signs:…the descent of Jesus (pbuh) son of Mary.(Muslim, Qitab al-Fitan: 39)
I swear, the son of Mary [Jesus (pbuh)] will perform hajj or umra or perform both.(Muslim, Hajj 216, 1252)
Hadiths reveal that a Golden Age era will begin after the Prophet Jesus' (pbuh) return, a time in which wealth, tranquility, peace, happiness, and ease of life will rule. It will see new developments in art, medicine, communication, manufacturing, transport, and many other fields, completely unlike what we have seen in any other time. In addition, morality will define the lives of people. The hadiths describe this era, as follows:
Earth will fill with union of faiths, just as a bowl is filled with water. No enmity will remain among people. And all enmities, struggle, hostility, and jealousy will disappear. (Sahih Muslim, 1/36)
For us Muslims, Jesus' (pbuh) second coming is of utmost importance. Born as a miracle of Allah, he invited the Israelites to the righteous path. And as a blessing from Allah he performed many miracles in their presence, and is the Messiah and « Allah's word » according to the Qur’an (Surat An-Nisa: 171). When he returns, the differences between Christians, Jews and Muslims, who actually share the same values and have the same belief in Allah, will be resolved. Thus, these three divinely revealed religions will merge into one true religion led forth by the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) and Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh), and the sincere followers of this religion that is revealed in the Qur’an will then ideologically defeat all anti-religious philosophies and idolatry, thus finally ridding the world of war, conflict, racism, ethnic hostility, tyranny, and injustice. People will live in a golden age of peace, happiness, and tranquility.
This will be one of the most significant events in world history. The merger of the three divinely revealed religions will mean that both North and South America, Europe, the Islamic world, Africa, Russia, and Israel will form an alliance under a common religion, something that has never been witnessed before.
UNITING IN IDEOLOGICAL DEBATE
The ideological changes that took place in the nineteenth century laid the foundations for the spiritual collapse in the next century. Whereas the majority of people believed in Allah's existence until that time, these changes enabled atheism to become a major influence. In the eighteenth century, such materialists as Denis Diderot and Baron D'Holbach asserted that the universe had existed forever and that only matter existed, and this view found an ever-increasing following in Europe. In the nineteenth century, atheism expanded further with the influence of such thinkers as Feuerbach, Marx, Engels, Nietzsche, Durkheim, and Freud.
Charles Darwin (d. 1882) did the greatest service to atheism, on the basis of no scientific evidence whatsoever, by devising his theory of evolution, which was designed to oppose creation. Darwinism provided a scientific answer to the question of how humanity and other life forms emerged – a question that atheists had never managed to answer until that time. He proposed that nature had an imaginary mechanism that could by chance bring dead matter to life and by chance give rise to millions of species. And many people believed this erroneous idea.
At the end of the nineteenth century, atheists had formulated a worldview that, they claimed, explained everything. They postulated that the universe was not created, but had existed since eternity and thus had no beginning. They assumed that its clear order and equilibrium was coincidental and devoid of purpose. Darwinism claimed to answer the question of how humanity and all other beings were created. Marx and Durkheim provided atheistic answers to history and sociology, and Freud did the same for psychology. These theories, however, were shown to be baseless and without merit by the scientific, political, and social developments of the twentieth century. And, moreover, discoveries in astronomy, biology, psychology, and social behavior completely destroyed atheisms' propositions.
During this period, however, movements based on Darwinism and materialism devastated humanity. Such ideologies as communism, fascism, racism, nihilism, and existentialism caused people great sorrow and engendered countless conflicts, wars, and calamities.
At present, the burden of responsibility rests upon the shoulders of all conscientious believers to do something about the global catastrophe created by all ideologies opposed to religious morality. All Christians, Jews, and Muslims should join in this effort, for they are the target of these atheistic ideologies. Therefore, the sincere People of the Book and sincere Muslims must cooperate, join forces, and tell the world of Darwinism's false worldview, which is based on materialism, not science. All of the other anti-religious ideologies (e.g., communism, fascism, racism) as well as decadence must be fought together on an ideological level so that the world can enjoy peace, tranquility, and justice in the near future. When this great task has been completed, suffering, hardship, killing, calamity, injustice, and destitution will make way for enlightenment, calmness, prosperity, wealth, health, and good fortune.
COME, LET US UNITE
As we have described throughout this documentary, Muslims and the People of the Book possess exceedingly similar beliefs and perspectives on life. Members of all three faiths believe in the existence and oneness of Allah, that He created the universe and all living things and that all people must order their lives according to the revelation coming from Allah. There is also very great similarities between the moral conception and ideal model of society described in the Qur’an and the uncorrupted parts of the Torah and the Gospel on those subjects.
There is no doubt that alongside these similarities there are also fundamental differences of belief. However, at a time of irreligious and atheistic ideologies, it is the resemblances between the three faiths that need to be emphasized, rather than the differences. Jews, Christians and Muslims must put a complete end to historic problems between them, prejudices, misconceptions, arguments based on bigotry and other disputes. It is wrong and unfair to judge a person without knowing him, solely on the basis of the faith to which he belongs. Members of all three faiths must treat one another with understanding and affection and not forget that there is not a day to lose over their common aims. The important thing is to concentrate on common features rather than differences, to make things easy rather than difficult, to be constructive rather than destructive, to bring people together rather than tear them apart.
In conclusion, the duty of all believers is clear, whether they are Muslims, Jews, or Christians: to unite and join forces in order to establish societies dominated by peace, tranquility, prosperity, morality, goodness, happiness, and security. Every believing Christian, Muslim, and Jew is responsible to do whatever he or she can in this respect. If we coordinate our efforts for such a pure undertaking, Allah will give us success....
It needs to be known that all of the walls that have been erected over the years among and against the followers of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism only help the unbelievers undermine and lead people further away from religious morality. No doubt, those who call to goodness, recommend doing good and avoiding evil, and work together in this holy cause can expect salvation and eternal happiness. The unbelievers will be at a loss, whereas the believers will receive an eternal reward:
By the Late Afternoon, truly man is in loss – except for those who believe and do right actions and urge each other to the truth and urge each other to steadfastness. (Surat Al-'Asr: 1-3)