A call for unity - 1
The 20th century…
A time of no peace…
A hundred years of conflict and war…
The hundreds of millions of people left homeless, crippled or dead …
Violence and oppression still prevail across the world as a whole in this century …
Many innocent people are suffering because of tensions between different states …
The majority of people across the world are too scared even to leave their homes …
Every day, hundreds of people learn that friends or relatives, their mothers or fathers, have been injured or died in fighting ...
Yet despite all this, some people are still striving to establish a climate of conflict between civilizations at this time when what is needed is solidarity and mutual aid. But it is impossible to regard these efforts as legitimate and remain silent in the face of them.
Because it is obvious that any clash between civilizations will lead to a terrible disaster for all mankind.
One of the main ways by which such a tragedy can be prevented is the strengthening of collaboration between civilizations.
What is more, this is very easy. Because there are no profound differences between Islam and the Western world, as some would have us believe.
On the contrary, and as we shall be revealing with full supporting evidence in this documentary, there are many aspects in common between Islamic civilization and the Judeo-Christian culture that represents the foundation of Western civilization.
Members of all three faiths believe in Allah, obey the Messengers sent by Him and believe in the existence of angels, the hereafter, paradise and hell, and the Holy Scriptures sent down by Allah. Members of all three faiths believe in not lying, being honest and humble, and treating people with love and affection. Members of all three faiths also maintain the bounds set by Allah and avoid those actions made unlawful by Him. So it will be a simple matter, on the basis of these common values, to collaborate to solve the problems of the world.
MUSLIMS’ ATTITUDES TOWARD THE PEOPLE OF THE BOOK
No matter how much they may gradually have become corrupted, Islam regards both Judaism and Christianity as divine religions revealed by Allah. It recognizes their prophets and scriptures.
It does not equate them with deniers or idolaters, but rather describes them as the “People of the Book” and ensures that Muslims treat their beliefs with affection and respect.
The subject is set out as follows in Surat al-Baqara:
Alif Lam Mim. That is the Book without any doubt. It contains guidance for those who guard against evil: those who believe in the Unseen, perform prayer, and spend from what We have provided for them; those who believe in what has been sent down to you, what was sent down before you, and are certain about the Hereafter. (Surat Al-Baqara: 1-4)
In the Qur’an Allah reveals these earlier divinely revealed books as: the Pages of the Prophet Abraham (pbuh), the Torah revealed to the Prophet Moses (pbuh), the Book of Psalms revealed to the Prophet David (pbuh), and the Gospel revealed to the Prophet Jesus (pbuh).
However, apart from the Qur’an, the other books have gradually been corrupted by people, for which reason some parts of them contain interpretations and provisions incompatible with the true faith.
However, Allah reveals in a number of verses that there are people who are sincerely devoted to Him among both Jews and Christians:
They are not all the same. There is a community among the People of the Book who are upright. They recite the Signs of Allah throughout the night, and they prostrate. They believe in Allah and the Last Day, enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, and compete in doing good. They are among the righteous. You will not be denied the reward for any good thing you do. Allah knows those who guard against evil. (Surah Al ’Imran: 113-115)
It must not be forgotten that Allah knows every individual’s heart.
For that reason, the Muslim perspective must be that there may be many sincere believers among the Peoples of the Book. Allah has revealed in the Qur’an that Muslims may marry Jewish or Christian women and that food prepared by the People of the Book is lawful for Muslims. This clearly reveals that family bonds can be established between Muslims and the People of the Book and that they can enjoy close and sincere relations. Muslims also have an obligation to protect and watch over the People of the Book, as can be seen in countless examples from the life of our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace).
When this attitude compatible with the Qur’an and the Sunnah is maintained, then it will be much easier to establish bonds based on love and respect among believers.
MUSLIMS’ LOVE FOR THE PROPHET MOSES (PBUH) AND THE PROPHET JESUS (PBUH)
The stories of the prophets related in the Qur’an tell of these holy individuals’ intellectual struggle against the deniers and how they preached the oneness and existence of Allah.
These narratives reveal details of their teachings about Allah and His religion, their ideological fight against unbelievers, and the responses they received from the people they invited to faith. The Prophets’ patience, selflessness, sincerity, fine thinking, and other superior human virtues made them ideal role models.
Therefore, Muslims are aware that all prophets are holy persons chosen by our Lord and believe in all the prophets who have ever been sent. One verse says:
Say: »We believe in Allah and what has been sent down to us, what was sent down to Abraham and Ishmael, Isaac and Jacob, and the Tribes; what Moses and Jesus were given; and what all of the Prophets were given by their Lord. We do not differentiate between any of them. We are Muslims submitted to Him.« (Surat Al-Baqara: 136)
Allah sent the Prophet Moses (pbuh) to the Children of Israel, who were enslaved by Pharaoh at the time and gave him the Book.
The Prophet Moses (pbuh) fought against Pharaoh and his close allies, as well as those hypocrites and people of weak faith from among his own nation, and proved himself a role model for believers by means of his submission to Allah and his faith, patience, courage, selflessness, intelligence, motivation, and drive.
Of course Muslims have a sincere respect for and belief in the Prophet Moses (pbuh), a Messenger with the closest devotion to Allah.
The Prophet Jesus (pbuh) is introduced as »The Messenger and word of Allah« (Surat An-Nisa: 171), as well as a »sign« (Surat Al-Anbiya: 91) for people. In the Qur’an, Allah reveals some enlightening information about his life and mission and the miracles that He granted to him. The Prophet Jesus (pbuh) is praised in the Qur’an 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.« (Surah Al ’Imran: 45)
Of course the most natural behavior for a Muslim is to love the Prophet Jesus (pbuh), who is chosen and respected in the Sight of Allah and made so close to our Lord.
Muslims are excitedly awaiting the coming of the Prophet Jesus (pbuh), whose miracles for his people are described in the Qur’an, who will return to Earth in the End Times to strive against deniers and who, together with Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh), will be instrumental in the global dominion of Islamic morality.
THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD’S (PBUH) EXEMPLARY APPROACH TOWARD THE PEOPLE OF THE BOOK
The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), is the best role model for Muslims in every subject as well as in dealing with the People of the Book.
The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was always tender hearted, just and compassionate toward Jews and Christians
He wanted a climate based on love and reconciliation between Muslims and members of the other divine faiths.
Agreements allowing Christians and Jews to live by their own faiths and maintain their existence as autonomous communities were made both during and after the time of our Prophet (pbuh), and various guarantees were given them.
One such example was our beloved Prophet’s words written in the text of an agreement prepared for the Ibn Harris ibn Ka`b who is a Christian and his people:
The religion, churches, lives, chastity, and goods of all Christians living in the East are under the protection of Allah and all believers. None of those living by Christianity will be forced to turn to Islam. If any Christian is subjected to any killing or injustice, Muslims must help him. (Ass. Professor Dr. Orhan Atalay, Dogu-Bati Kaynaklarinda Birlikte Yasama (Co-existence in Eastern-Western Sources) (Istanbul: Gazeteciler ve Yazarlar Vakfi Publications, 1999), p. 95)
As a requirement of the morality ordained by Allah, the Prophet Muhammad not only showed compassion and understanding toward the People of the Book, but also taught his Companions that those Jews and Christians living under the rule of Islam must be protected.
The privileges that he granted them in the settlements of Adruh, Maqna, Khaybar, Najran, and Aqaba prove that Muslims both guaranteed these non-Muslims’ lives and property and recognized their freedom of belief and worship.
THE TRANQUILITY THE PEOPLE OF THE BOOK EXPERIENCED UNDER MUSLIM RULE
The oppression and violence directed by Byzantium against the Egyptian Monophysites and the Jacobean Christians, the horrors endured by those Jews and Orthodox Christians who found themselves in the path of the Catholic Crusaders, and the persecution endured by the Jews of Europe, as well as by the Muslims and Jews in Spain after the Reconquista, have never occurred on Muslim soil.
Driven out of Spain and faced with more hardship in other countries where they sought refuge, many died of hunger and thirst at the gates of towns and cities they were not permitted to enter.
Jews who boarded Genoese ships were either exploited or sold to pirates.
Jews escaping Spanish tyranny found the peace and security they sought on Ottoman soil.
Sultan Bayezid, who opened the gates of the empire to the Jews and allowed them to travel in freedom by sending ships for them, issued a royal command to all provinces stressing that Jews expelled unjustly from their homelands should be treated with care and affection.
The royal command said;
"Rather than turning back the Jews of Spain, they must be welcomed with all sincerity; anyone behaving differently, mistreating the migrants or causing any harm to befall them will be punished by death..." (Abrahom Danon, Yossef Daath Magazine, No. 4; Naim Güleryüz, Türk Yahudileri Tarihi I [History of Turkish Jews], Gözlem Gazetecilik Basın ve Yayın A.Ş, Istanbul, 1993)
Sultan Bayezid is known to history as a religious man, and his hospitality and affection were based on the Qur’an’s morality.
One of the lands where people attained peace under Islamic rule is Palestine.
Jewish and Christian communities living in Palestine enjoyed freedom of belief in the days of Islamic rule, they live in peace and security under Muslim administration and engaged freely in art and commerce.
The Ottoman Empire established peace and security in the region for 500 years, and it has proved impossible to rebuild that order brought about by the Ottomans.
The freedoms and justice enjoyed in Jerusalem and its surrounding area under Ottoman rule is described by one of Israel’s ex-foreign ministers, Abba Eban, as follows:
Jerusalem and the Jewish nation suffered bloodshed and torture from the Romans and every other occupying force. Only after the conquest of Jerusalem by Sultan Yavuz Selim and its fortification by Suleiman the Magnificent did the Jewish nation discover what humanity, equality, and a peaceful life meant. (Ilhan Bardakci, "Biz Hic Irk Olmamisiz" (We Have Never Been a Race!), Tercuman Magazine, May 7, 1983)
Throughout the Muslim world, Muslims, Jews, and Christians lived together in peace and tranquility for centuries.
The People of the Book engaged in commerce and acquired property as they wished, engaged in the trade or profession of their choice, and were appointed to posts in the state administration and even in the sultan’s palace.
They enjoyed the freedom of thought and expression at the highest degree, and made scientific and cultural achievements that are still with us today.
They were not denied their social rights, and enjoyed maximum freedoms of belief and worship.
This unequalled compassion and justice in Muslim lands was based on the Qur’an’s morality.
Muslim leaders who adopted such ethical standards always achieved security, peace, and justice in their domains.
These administrations’ priority was the public’s happiness and prosperity; therefore, they established systems that set the standards for future generations.
When these same values of compassion, mercy, justice, understanding, modesty, patience, selflessness, and devotion derived from the Qur’an’s morality begin to pervade today’s societies, it will be possible to create a world order in which all people will find peace and security.
UNITING AGAINST THE THREAT OF RADICALISM
Radical tendencies, irrespective of their origin, are one of the most dangerous threats to world peace and security.
Radicalism means to advocate fundamental and sudden changes by means of uncompromising and hard-line policies.
Radicals seek such changes by employing cunning and often aggressive policies.
One of radicalism’s characteristic traits is the angry attitude visible in its adherents’ speeches, books, and demonstrations
Radical movements are dominated by blindly advocated taboos, instead of conscious behavior, and reflect amass psychology.
This psychology, in turn, can get so out of control that people, who no longer know what they are doing or why, turn their aggression on others
In an environment where love, affection and understanding have ceased to exist, people begin to feel animosity toward different ideologies or races without knowing what the other party really represents or believes.
Ignorance enables radicalism to find new recruits, even though it is a harmful and destructive movement.
Radicalism can emerge in Islamic countries, just as it can in various Christian and Jewish communities, and this fact must not be misused by those who predict a clash between the two civilizations.
Misinformed or one-sidedly informed people are vulnerable to extremist movements, whose philosophical programs they adopt without careful reflection.
This is why education is an essential aspect of the ideological fight against radicalism.
When people are told of the moral values of the Qur’an, when they are taught about the fine moral virtues of our Prophet (pbuh), emphasizing the importance of the peace, love, affection and compassion enjoyed by the faith, then radical tendencies will swiftly disappear.
THE ERRORS OF RADICAL CHRISTIANS
The vast majority of Christians approach members of other religions with the love, and respect required by the Gospel. This is a very important – and very recent – development.
The conservative outlook that once predominated has given way to affection, love and respect.
However, it is still possible – although not often – to encounter harshness and even aggressions toward non-Christians in Christian world.
Some religious leaders make untrue statements about other faiths and claim that believers in those religions are sinful and guilty in their own eyes.
By maintaining the Crusades mentality in the Middle Ages, some Christian leaders continue to make aggressive comments about Muslims, misinterpret the Torah, and claim that in the near future a Muslim-Christian war will occur. Or, even worse, they claim that such a war is both necessary and unavoidable.
However, as can be seen in many examples in history, calling people to war instead of building peace will only inflict tragedy on mankind.
One of the most fundamental errors of Christian radicals is their belief in Armageddon, which they think will take place before the Messiah’s arrival.
This unfounded belief violates the morality that Jesus (pbuh) taught to Christians.
Because a reading of the Gospel shows that the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) always recommended love, peace and friendship and that those harboring expectations of war are in a state of grave misconception.
Christians should know that Muslims are also awaiting the Prophet Jesus’ (pbuh) second coming.
For this miracle is foretold in the Qur’an and in the Prophet Muhammad‘s (pbuh) hadiths.
Therefore, Muslims and Christians should make joint preparations for his arrival.
The best preparation is to adopt the morality that pleases Allah.
It must not be forgotten that after the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) returns, he will defeat all atheist ideologies and idolatrous philosophies; such ideologies as fascism and racism will be eradicated.
The world will be freed from ethnic violence, tyranny, and injustice; and humanity will experience peace, happiness, and tranquility.
Therefore, genuinely religious people who are preparing for the coming of the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) should make the necessary preparations.
They should try to prevent all kinds of conflict, and leave all disputes, divisions, and animosities behind.
One point must not be forgotten.
No doubt, sincere devout Christians are the best placed to render invalid all of those opinions and attitudes that seek to prevent a dialogue based on mutual understanding and respect between the two communities.
This responsibility attendant upon devout Christians is described as follows in the Gospel:
For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men... Show the proper respect to everyone. Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God... (1 Peter, 2: 15-17)
THE ERRORS OF RADICAL JEWS
The atheist circles so influential in part of the Jewish world today encourage a radical outlook that incite hatred toward non-Jews and espouse the harshest and most ruthless methods against the Palestinians in particular.
The conditioning by these circles is especially influential in certain circles within the state of Israel and plays an influential role in the increasing conflict and tension in the region.
There is no doubt that the supporters of the radical groups that incite harsh and repressive policies against Muslims and Christians and strive to obstruct friendship and brotherhood among those who believe in the One Allah represent only a tiny minority of Israel’s Jewish population.
But there is a culture of radicalism that intellectually nourishes this minority, and this continues to pose a threat both to the Middle East and to world peace.
In order for this to be healed, Jewish clergy must instill a moral conception that exists in the essence of the Torah and is based on love, respect, justice and compassion. And there are many Jewish clergy who are striving to do just that.
It is very important that religious Jews follow Allah’s advice and invite all Jews to abide by the moral conduct ordained by Him.
As with Christians and Muslims, Allah has commanded the Jews to defend justice, honesty and the rights of the innocent, and to live by peace and love. Therefore, certain elements of radical Jewish fanaticism contradict other passages from the Torah, such as: « Who stops his ears against plots of murder and shuts his eyes against contemplating evil » (Isaiah, 33: 15).
It must not be forgotten that no ideology that sanctions violence and aggression, and disrupts law and order, can succeed. Violence always brings only loss. Preventing such destructiveness necessitates the exposure of the fanatics’ deceptions and errors, which also will prevent their influence over any other people as well as help them to see reason.
Peace-seeking citizens of Israel, as well as Jews living in other countries, today oppose radicalism and this is a highly significant development. Jews of genuine faith must bear in mind that the Torah prohibits murder, committing injustice, taking revenge, and bloodshed, and should become leaders in the ideological and cultural struggle against fanaticism in solidarity with all conscientious Christians and Muslims.
It must not be forgotten that Jews and Muslims have suffered the greatest damage in their history at the hands of irreligious ideologies. The Torah is full of accounts of the cruelty inflicted on Jews by idolaters. The genocide and tyranny against Jews by atheists is well documented (e.g., the Nazis and Stalin’s officially encouraged anti-Semitic racists and communists). These irreligious forces hated and terrorized Jews because of their faith in Allah. Muslims and Jews must join forces against these anti-religious entities and disregard the radical propaganda that could prevent such an alliance.
THE MODERATE MORALITY THAT MUSLIMS ARE COMMANDED TO UPHOLD IN THE QUR’AN
Radicalism is wholly incompatible with the way of life prescribed by Allah.
Allah describes Muslims as those who speak nicely, refrain from conflict and fighting, are friendly and moderate toward even the fiercest opponents, and modest, patient, compassionate, and loving.
In the Qur’an Allah reveals that all of the Prophets were moderate, gentle, and affectionate towards others. One verse describing the moral virtue of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) reads:
It is a mercy from Allah that you were gentle with them. If you had been rough or hard of heart, they would have scattered from around you. (Surah Al ’Imran: 159)
Since Muslims are only responsible for announcing the Qur’an’s morality, and since they are prohibited from being bullies or enforcers and are required to be softly spoken to even the cruellest tyrant, they cannot be extremists or radicals.
Because radicalism espouses and applies the exact opposite of all these virtues.
In addition, Muslims must use exceptionally polite and respectful language in talking to people who do not share their beliefs and ideas and telling them of the moral values of Islam.
They never resort to force or threats.
For their responsibility is limited to teaching others about the Qur’an’s morality. The rest is up to the conscience of those people.
Allah reveals in the Qur’an the kind of language Muslims should use with other people:
Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair admonition, and argue with them in the kindest way. Your Lord knows best who is misguided from His way. And He knows best who are guided. (Surat An-Nahl: 125)
In this part of our documentary we have looked at the need for solidarity on the part of those who believe in the Oneness of Allah in the face of Darwinist, materialist and atheist ideologies that inflict terrible tragedies on mankind. In part 2 of our documentary A call for Unity, we shall be looking at the common beliefs and values of the three faiths and the kind of intellectual struggle that members of these three faiths need to wage against atheistic philosophies.
In addition, we shall also be discussing in this documentary the return to earth of the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) in the End Times in which we are living and the impact of that coming on these three great faiths.
At the end of this series of documentaries we will see how union and brotherhood between civilizations can easily be established.
Because the three faiths have so much more in common than is commonly believed.
By Allah’s leave, once the faiths coalesce around these shared values, peace will be established very soon and the atmosphere of disorder and conflict that some people are hoping for will be eliminated from the face of the Earth.