Union of Faiths

ADNAN OKTAR Believers are like the different parts of a building, each one supporting the other.' Then he demonstrated what he meant by interlocking his fingers.

(Hadith of Al-Bukhari and Muslim, Words of the Prophet Muhammad, p. 67)


 

Unity, cooperation, solidarity, friendship, self-sacrifice, support, and similar other qualities are some of the beautiful attributes which are the underlying foundation of the Qur'anic morality. This is stated in many sayings of Our Prophet (pbuh). One of them reads:

'Believers are like the different parts of a building, each one supporting the other.' Then he demonstrated what he meant by interlocking his fingers. (Hadith of Al-Bukhari and Muslim, Words of the Prophet Muhammad, p. 67)

The religion of Islam ensures the establishment of a better world where there is love, peace, tolerance and understanding to one another. Societies possessing these features experience rapid development and achieve greater power. Once unity and cooperation are attained, individuals of such a society could channel their strength and energy towards goodness and good deeds rather than into disputes, fights, conflicts and wars. Essentially, a cause to which people commit themselves and devote all their effort, power, zeal and support, both material and spiritual, results in an ultimate success and beauty. What is more important is that God gives glad tidings that individuals working in unity and solidarity for good will receive God's help, support and power. For this reason, God reminds believers not to dispute among themselves so as not to lose strength. The verse below makes this point clear:

Obey God and His Messenger and do not quarrel among yourselves lest you lose heart and your momentum disappear. And be steadfast. God is with the steadfast. (Surat al-Anfal: 46)

Establishing unity among the righteous is an exalted virtue recommended by God. Especially in a time where evil has permeated every aspect of society, not a single evil feature like peevishness, resentment or bickering should be tolerated among the good. Putting forth effort to remove such evil influences and adopting a compromising and conciliatory attitude is a great act of worship.

The believers are brothers, so make peace between your brothers and have fear of God so that hopefully you will gain mercy. (Surat al-Hujurat: 10)

Disputes, enmity, hatred and anger are the features of immoral conduct inspired by the evil. True Muslims never conduct themselves under the influence of these undesirable feelings; they have fear for God and are always modest, friendly, thoughtful and full of love in their relations. People who are not sincere in their cause may feel jealous of their closest friends and even of their own brothers and sisters. Each other's success may stir up feelings of envy in their hearts. On the contrary, a true Muslim takes pride in other believers' success, and is happy for them as if it were his own accomplishment, and feels grateful to God for the blessings He has granted believers. Furthermore, he supports them in their endeavour and offers guidance if necessary. Those lacking such morals, on the other hand, hamper the progress of others. Feelings of rivalry and jealousy spoil the good deeds engaged in to attain the good pleasure of God, and accordingly, ruins any beauty or blessings. God's Messenger, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), also drew attention to this point and advised the believers to guard against such bad manners:

Do not envy each other, do not bid against each other, do not hate each other, do not turn your backs on each other, and let none of you sell upon the sale of another. Be slaves of God, brothers. A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim, he does not wrong him, fail to assist him, lie to him nor despise him. (Imam an-Nawawi, The Complete Forty Hadith, p. 122)

Said Nursi, also known as Bediuzzaman (the Wonder of the Age) who is one of the greatest Islamic scholars of the 20th century gives extensive reference to these issues in his Risale-i Nur collection, a commentary on the Qur'an. In the sincere style that is peculiar to him, Bediuzzaman relates that believers should strictly avoid corrupt feelings such as competitiveness when they strive for a common goal:

The service of the truth is like carrying and preserving a great and weighty treasure. Those who carry that trust on their shoulders will be happy and grateful whenever powerful hands rush to their aid. Far from being jealous, one should proudly applaud the superior strength, effectiveness and capacity of those who in upright love come forward to offer their help. Why then look on true brothers and self-sacrificing helpers in a spirit of rivalry, thus losing sincerity? You will be exposed to fearsome accusations in the eyes of the people of misguidance, such as pursuing worldly interest through religion, even though it is something a hundred times lower than you and your belief, earning your livelihood through the knowledge of truth and rivalling others in greed and acquisitiveness. The sole remedy for this disease is to accuse your own soul before others raise these charges, and always to take the side of your fellow, not your own soul. (Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Risale-i Nur Külliyati II (The Risale-i Nur Collection II), The Flashes Collection, The Twentieth Flash)

As Bediuzzaman Said Nursi also states, offering one's service towards establishment of the moral values of the Qur'an can be seen as preserving a treasure for the believers; one that is extremely precious. To this invaluable service, everybody must provide his wholehearted support and help. Feeling jealous of another believer who offers his devoted and unwavering support, or considering him as a rival, is unacceptable for a true Muslim. A believer should be proud of others' commitment and provide his support.

Jealousy is an attribute of the evil alliance. The existence of such an evil trait among individuals collaborating for a righteous end does nothing but diminish the strength of the alliance. It is surely the evil alliance that benefits from such detriment. As Bediuzzaman says, the only cure for this illness is not following one's ego and always taking the side of one's fellow.

In the Risale-i Nur collection, Bediuzzaman draws a comparison between the machinery of a factory and believers. The harmonious and smooth functioning of this machinery is essential for a productive output. A similar harmony is also required in the co-operation among believers. Said Nursi explains that believers should avoid talk which could cause jealousy and bitterness. Just as how a factory ensures a timely and efficient output only when its machinery works in harmony and does not conflict with itself, so should believers working for a common goal to earn the good pleasure of God exhibit similar harmony. They should strive together without searching for one another's mistakes and defects. In a world where disbelievers ally themselves against the good, are filled with feelings of hatred and envy for the believers, and oppress the poor, the homeless, women, children, and the elderly, all these oppressed people hope for the help of the conscientious. In this case, if wise, sincere, conscientious and honest people use their powers against each other, they may be held accountable for this in the sight of God. It is essential that believers see no limits in improving their alliance, cooperation, friendship, solidarity and affection for another, and never fall into a disagreement which will weaken them. This spirit of believers is best stated in the words of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh):

You will observe that the believers are like the parts of the body in relation to each other in matters of kindness, love and affection. When one part of the body is afflicted, the entire body feels it; there is loss of sleep and a fever develops. (Hadith of Al-Bukhari and Muslim on the Authority of Nu'man Ibn Bashir, Words of the Prophet Muhammad by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, p. 68).

The solidarity of the people, who purify themselves of every form of worldly ambition, jealousy and competitiveness, who channel every positive feeling, every effort, and every activity for the good of others, without making it a matter of personal pride, will break the resolve of the alliance of the evil. 

ADNAN OKTAR Following ratification of the ruling by the Malaysian Court of Appeals  that the name “Allah” can only be used by Muslims, Prime Minister Najib Razak once again defended the decision. What first needs to be said is that in the same way that this ruling is incompatible with the friendship of Christians and Muslims - who have lived together in Malaysia for many years -  it also conflicts with understanding of Islam itself.


 

Non-Muslims constitute some 40% of the population of Malaysia. The fact that copies of the Bible published in the Malay language 400 years ago used the term ‘Allah’ gives us a better idea of the problem to which this ban will lead. Alongside the question of social peace and understanding, there is no logic in religious terms in telling someone who uses the name ‘Allah’ that he must not do so. There is nothing troubling about a non-Muslim using the name Allah in prayer and worship; on the contrary, it is a cause for rejoicing for a Muslim. 

While this is going on in Malaysia, more interesting things are happening in Iran. No matter how much I say that there can be no solution until the deep state in Iran and Shiite extremism are eliminated, I still support all the initiatives, since the election of President Ruhani in Iran indicates a positive step forward for the region that will lead the way to peace and brotherhood. 

Following the election of Ruhani, major steps have been taken toward the dream of a freer Iran. Language denying the  Holocaust  is being abandoned, moderate messages from President Ruhani via Twitter on the occasion of  his U.S. visit, the telephone conversation between President Obama and President Ruhani, and President Ruhani ending his address to the U.N. by emphasizing the common values found in the Torah, the Gospels and the Qur’an are some of these strides forward. Another instance was added to these just the other day.

President Ruhani hosted Archbishop Leo Boccardi in his office. The message, accompanied by a photograph, that was published on Twitter following that meeting was exceedingly important. President Ruhani said:

“Today we have common objectives and enemies. Extremism and terrorism are our common enemies and, based on the divine teachings, human interactions and cooperation for the elimination of poverty and injustice are common objectives,” We need to have a deeper knowledge of each other’s beliefs and cultures, because nowadays, most of the gaps and enmities are rooted in unfamiliarity and lack of knowledge about each other’s cultures.”

President Ruhani’s words are actually a reflection of the moral values recommended by Islam. According to Islam, Christians and Jews are the People of the Book, and Muslims’ relations with the People of the Book are based on love and understanding. The faithfulness to the Prophet Jesus or the Prophet Moses of the People of the Book, and their loyalty to the Torah or the Gospels, are delightful things for Muslims.

Another important matter shaping Muslims’ relations with the People of the Book is that it is lawful in Islam for Muslims to eat food prepared by them, and Muslim men are allowed to marry women from the People of the Book. The fact that Allah encourages Muslims to engage in such social relations is clear proof that He wishes us to establish warm and high-level human relations with the People of the Book. Sitting down at the same table and raising children together by marrying and spending a lifetime together is a fine and appropriate response from Islam to those who strive to create division and sow disagreement between the two communities.

There may have been various conflicts and disagreements between members of the three divine faiths in the past. However, these did not originate from the essence of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, but from mistaken ideas and opinions on the part of nations, communities and individuals, and from expectations of political or economic gain. Otherwise, one of the common aims of the three divine faiths is for all people to live in peace, tranquility and security, and all opinions that reject that aim and encourage conflict are mistaken in the eyes of all three faiths.

The responsibility of sincere and sensible Christians, Jews and Muslims of good conscience is to assist one another against wickedness and wicked people, and to work together in union and togetherness. That union must be built on the basis of the principles of love, respect, affection, compassion, understanding, harmony and cooperation.

So let us be united and work together to eliminate all the causes that might lead to conflict and fighting. Let us strive together against the bigotry that hinders such an alliance. Let us love and watch over one another. Let us not make differences of belief into pretexts for conflict. Let us build upon our common beliefs for unity and togetherness.

ADNAN OKTAR There is an urgent need for solidarity and cooperation between people of good conscience from Christians, Jews and Muslims, as they are capable of preventing the scourges of our day when they unite. This is not difficult considering the common ground between the Islamic civilization and the Judeo-Christian culture that constitutes the fundamentals of the Western civilization. 


 

Today the world needs peace, friendship, and solidarity more than ever. The conflicts that defined the twentieth century still persist, and innocent people all around the world continue to suffer.

There is an urgent need for solidarity and cooperation between people of good conscience from Christians, Jews and Muslims, as they are capable of preventing the scourges of our day when they unite. This is not difficult considering the common ground between the Islamic civilization and the Judeo-Christian culture that constitutes the fundamentals of the Western civilization.

Today, hundreds and thousands of children, women and men are being killed, displaced, or persecuted due to hostility, hatred and anger instilled in people through anti-religious sentiments. In other words, the lifeblood - faith in God- was cut off from people, and the world turned into a scene of madness with new terrorist attacks and killings every other day. 

This plague of unbelief is hurting all people of the world. The only way to end to this tyranny is the alliance of devout people of Abrahamic religions as only such unity can help build societies of peace, happiness, and safety.  In essence, Muslims, Christians, and Jews have common principles of faith, worship, and moral values. The followers of these faiths believe that God created the universe from nothingness and sustains all matter with His Endless Power; that God created all life forms in a miraculous way; and that man has a soul given by God; that God sent Prophets to humanity throughout history, like the Prophet Muhammad (may God bless him and grant him peace), and the Prophets Jesus, Moses (peace be upon them) along with the Prophets Noah, David, Abraham, Isaac, and Joseph (peace be upon them all); and they love them all; that God created our lives according to destiny; and they all believe in the Resurrection, Hell, Heaven, and the existence of the angels. Not only in matters of faith, the followers of Abrahamic religions also have common values about morality such as the importance of honor, chastity, modesty, selflessness, honesty, compassion, mercy, and unconditional love.

Although Jews and Christians were given a different Law than the Muslims, all sincere believers are required to submit wholeheartedly to God, do what is good, and compete in doing good deeds. All of them who believe in the existence of God and the Hereafter and do good deeds are, in reality, following the true religion our Lord revealed to the Prophet Abraham (pbuh). In the Qur’an God reveals that the religion of Abraham (pbuh) was a haneef religion. The word haneef means: one who surrenders to God’s Will, not compromising in any way on His Religion, and being devout. In one verse, God commands the Prophet Muhammad (may God bless him and grant him peace) to abide by the haneef religion of the Prophet Abraham (pbuh): “Then We revealed to you: ‘Follow the religion of Abraham, a man of pure natural belief. He was not one of the idolaters.’” (Surat An-Nahl: 123)

The Prophet Abraham’s (pbuh) devout descendants all abided by his haneef religion. In the Qur’an this truth is revealed as follows: “Who would deliberately renounce the religion of Abraham, except someone who reveals himself to be a fool? We chose him in this world, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the righteous. When his Lord said to him: ‘Become a Muslim!’ he said: ‘I am a Muslim who has submitted to the Lord of all the worlds.’ Abraham directed his sons to this, as did Jacob: ‘My sons. God has chosen this religion for you, so do not die except as Muslims.’ Or were you present when death came to Jacob and he said to his sons: ‘What will you worship when I have gone?’ They said: ‘We will worship your God, the God of your forefathers, Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac – One God. We are Muslims submitted to Him.’” (Surat Al-Baqara: 130-133)

The religion followed by the Prophet Abraham (pbuh) represents the common ground among Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Love, faith, and respect for the Prophet Abraham (pbuh) are just as important to Muslims as they are for Christians and Jews. Essentially, all Prophets have invited their nations to believe in and worship God and to abide by the limits He has established for humanity. All nations are expected to follow God’s will without fail and to do good deeds in order to earn His reward. So, Muslims, Jews and Christians, people believing in God and obeying His revelation, should unite in this common premise of the haneef religion which commands all to love and obey God, our Creator and our Lord, and pray to Him to lead us to a truer path.

When Muslims, Christians, and Jews unite under these premises, when they realize that they are allies and not enemies in their intellectual efforts against irreligious ideologies, the world will become an altogether different place. The pure religion of the Prophet Abraham (pbuh) who submitted himself to God is the path that will guide them to unity and peace. When this great task of unity is achieved, pains and suffering will be replaced by peace, happiness, wealth and good fortune for entire humanity.

Every step to bring faithful Jews, Christians and Muslims together, will be another step towards ending the darkness that is afflicting our world. Faithful believers should not even miss a second to start working on this crucial mission and seek to be a means to provide peace and security for all the downtrodden, who ask for salvation from our Lord.

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