Brother Mustafaa Muhammad
In the Name of ALLAH, The Beneficent, The Merciful
(part 1 of a 2 part series)
I am writing this article to pose the following question: is it possible for Muslims and Christians to unite? When I say unite, I am not saying that each side has to totally agree with the other or that differences have to be minimized. Civilized people are able to agree to disagree without being disagreeable.
Some will automatically-emphatically say, no, in regards to the question posed by this writing. Disunity seems to be the order of the day among the human family. If we are in politics we are divided among groups of Democrats, Republicans, Independents or other parties. If we are Christians we are divided as Baptists, AME, Holiness, Pentecostal and other denominations. If we are Muslims we are divided amongst Sunni, Shitte, Nation of Islam and other sects and parties. We are also divided among racial, economic, social and gender lines.
These aforementioned divisions give context to the particular subject I wish to speak of in this writing. We will explore scriptural and historical references to discover if it is possible or even realistic for Muslims with their differences to unite with Christians and their differences.
What is the basis upon which this unity can be achieved? The Holy Qur'an, The scripture for Muslims, asks all the question, "Who created the heavens and earth?" It answers it own question by saying, "The One God Created the heavens and Earth." We are taught in mathematics to solve a fraction you must goto the common denominator. There are billions of believers in God worldwide who if asked will bear witness that God is one. The Old Testament(Deut 6:4) teaches, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.” 2000 years later the New Testament(Mark 12:29) teaches: Jesus answered, "The foremost is, 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.”
The Holy Qur’an(2:136), the scripture of Muslims, says the following in support, “Say: We believe in Allah and(in) that which has been revealed to us, and (in) that which was revealed to Abraham, and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and (in) that which was given to Moses and Jesus, and (in) that which was given to the prophets from their Lord, we do not make any distinction between any of them and to Him do we submit.”
From the oneness of Almighty God we are now being introduced to the oneness of the prophetic community. We are taught in Islam that all of the prophets brought the same basic message. That one message is obedience to God’s will. Also, each prophet taught the principles of prayer, charity, faith, family life, being kind to neighbors and fasting. The Holy Prophet Muhammad(Peace be upon him) taught us 124, 000 prophets have been raised among humanity in different times and none of them disagreed. Why didn’t they disagree? They were raised up by God in different times, different societal circumstances, yet they preached the unity of God.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan teaches us that we should not judge a person's religion by what they say, but rather by what they do. He further teaches us that we must not allow the label of our religious affiliation keep us from connecting to our brothers and sisters. I am reminded of two examples he often uses to make this point about religious unity. He says when a wino really wants to get drunk he doesn't concern himself with the label on the bottle as long as the contents can give him the intoxicating feeling he seeks.
Secondly, he uses mathematics to help us understand how we are saying the same thing in essence. He teaches that if your mother taught you 4+4=8 and another person's mother taught them 12-4=8 this could cause an argument if we came together to explain our method to solve the problem. Our ancient ancestors taught for every physical reality there is a spiritual reality. Therefore, Muslims have a method of connecting with the One true living God and Christians have a method of uniting with the one true living God, however we are arguing about the means to reach the end. Remember that as it is in mathematics, so it is in the spiritual realm.
The book of Ephesians 4:5 teaches that there is, "One Lord, One faith and One baptism."
Historical references towards unity
Over 1400 years ago when Islam was being re-established in the so-called Middle East, we find one of the greatest examples of Muslim-Christian cooperation in ancient times.
When Muhammad of 1400 years ago began teaching his message to his fellow countrymen and that message began to gain acceptance those same countrymen began persecution of him and his followers. The persecution reached such extreme proportions that Muhammad considered sending his followers away to save them from further violence. Where did he decide to send them? He told his followers to emigrate to Africa, Ethiopia to be specific, where the Christian king makes sure no one is wronged. The Muslims found shelter and love with their Christian host until it was safe to return home. Therefore, this historical reference teaches us that Muslims owe gratitude to their Christian brothers and sisters who helped them at a time when they couldn't help themselves.
The greatest example of operational unity between Muslim and Christian brethren in modern times was seen in the Million Man March called by a Muslim, The Hon. Louis Farrakhan, yet was attended by 3/4ths who identified themselves as Christian. Minister Farrakhan placed a Christian brother as director over the march to demonstrate his desire for unity. The message of this "march" was one of putting God first, self love, self help and unity in the black community. When the minister spoke he didn't ask his Christian brothers to join him in being a Muslim. Rather he encouraged all to return to their place of preference(Mosque, Church, Naacp, SCLC etc...) and take the principles of the Million Man March wherever you go.
I decided to join him as a Muslim, however I grew up in the black church and continue to cherish and hold that experience dear to my heart.
In conclusion, we have seen from a principle standpoint and a historical standpoint that yes Muslims and Christians can unite. However, if they will in 2009 is another thing.
This discussion will be continued, God willing, in part 2 of this subject matter.
Thank you for reading these few words
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Copyright2009 Mustafaa Muhammad