Dhu'l-Qa'dah / Zil-Hijjah 1423 H
Volume 16-02 No : 194
Camps \ Workshops
When we look at the Old and New Testaments, the foundations of Judaism and Christianity, and at the Quran, we see that pleasant words and behaviour are recommended in mutual relations.
There is no doubt that the situation facing the communities of the world, including social degeneration, moral collapse, poverty, hunger, growing evil, families splitting up, people living in a spiritual vacuum, illegal activities, killings, conflict, war, tension are rapidly dragging the communities to the brink of a material and spiritual collapse. On the other hand, atheist-materialist, destructive and harmful philosophies pose a terrible threat to lives in this world and in the hereafter.
Nevertheless, it is actually not that difficult to destroy, in the ideological sense, that wicked alliance, to eliminate the negative and destructive effects of atheist- materialist indoctrination, and to bring about a society where proper morality, happiness, peace, security and well-being prevail. The one way of doing that lies in the three revealed religions (Islam, Judaism and Christianity), joining forces in the light of that common objective.
That unity must rest on the principles of love, respect, tolerance, understanding, harmony and cooperation. We must bear in mind the urgency of the situation, and factors likely to give rise to conflict, argument and division must be avoided.
One of the common aims of each of the divine religions, in fact, is for all people to live together in peace, security and happiness, and a conflict that works against that aim is a mistake in the eyes of all three religions.
When we look at the Old and New Testaments, the foundations of Judaism and Christianity, and at the Quran, we see that pleasant words and behaviour are recommended in mutual relations. In our time, the atmosphere of mutual tolerance between the Christian and Islamic worlds, that has come to embrace both sides, has now reached the very highest levels.
This is how the Bible describes the kind of behaviour that believers should adopt towards other people:
Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken. Hate the evil, and love the good... (Amos 5, 14-15)
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God (Micah 6, 8) ...Ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. (1 Thessalonians 5, 15)
To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. (The Epistle of Paul to Titus 3, 2)
Another factor bringing Christianity and Islam together is the love the members of both religions feel for the Prophet Isa, or Jesus Christ. Muslims believe in all the prophets, making no distinction between them. In the same way that they believe in Prophet Muhammad, Muslims also believe in Jesus Christ, and feel great love and respect for him. In the Quran, he is described as “The Messenger of Allah and His Word” (Surah Al-Nisa: 171) and as being “A Sign” (Surah Al-Anbiya: 91). Important information about his mission, miracles and life is also given. In one part of the Qur’an, Jesus Christ is praised in these terms:
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).
About Judaism and Islam, it is the fact that the Jews suffered great cruelty in Europe during the Middle Ages and sought the protection of the Muslim Ottoman Empire, and always lived in security under the Ottoman rule. That situation forms the natural basis of the unity that will be established between Muslims and Jews.
In the same way that they believe in the Quran, Muslims also believe in the divine books that were revealed before it, and definitely believe in the Bible. They sincerely believe that the Old and New Testaments were revealed as guides, with the properties of separating good from evil and the lawful from the unlawful. In fact, the aims of the Bible given to Jesus Christ, are revealed in the Quran in these words:
“And We sent Jesus son of Mary following in their footsteps, confirming the Torah that came before him. We gave him the Gospel containing guidance and light, confirming the Torah that came before it, and as guidance and admonition for those who have fear of God”. (Surat al- Maida: 46)
One of the verses in the Quran regarding the Old Testament, the holy book of the Jews, reads:
“We sent down the Torah containing guidance and light, and the Prophets who had submitted themselves gave judgement by it for the Jews - as did their scholars and their rabbis - by what they had been allowed to preserve of Allah’s Book to which they were witnesses (Surah Al-Maida: 44).
At this point, the following question comes to mind, one which has been debated and considered for hundreds of years: What does one need to do in order to be one of the saved and earn the mercy and good pleasure of God? The answer to that question is given in the Quran, in a manner that allows no debate or doubt:
“Those with faith, those who are Jews, and the Christians and Sabaeans, all who have iman in Allah and the Last Day and act rightly, will have their reward with their Lord. They will feel no fear and will know no sorrow. (Surah Al-Baqara: 62).
The great majority of those who believe in God today and serve only Him are members of the Judaic, Christian and Islamic religions. As is made clear in the verses, Jews, Christians and Muslims are called upon to compete in such areas as living in the way revealed by God, calling on people to exhibit proper morality and to do good, and avoiding evil.
Islam poses no obstacle to dialogue with The People of the Book and cooperation and joint action with them. On the contrary, it encourages them. There is a strong parallel in this situation to both the understanding of tolerance and respect revealed in the Old and New Testaments and to the present attitude of the Christian and Judaic worlds.
The Quran explicitly advises human beings not to commit excesses and disturb the balance of life
The Quran says: “And of His sign is the creation of heavens and the earth and the differences in your languages and colours. Lo!
Herein indeed are portents for men of knowledge” (30:22). It says again: “He subjected to you all that is in the heavens and in the earth, all from Himself. There are many signs in this for those who reflect” (45:13).
Through the above verses, the Quran tells us that the creation of heavens and the earth is among the signs of Allah and in these very creations there are many other signs for those who can understand and make use thereof. If one ponders a little bit over the set-up and functioning of countless celestial bodies, the first thing that will strike his mind could be the exceptional degree of harmony in their existence and functioning in relation to each other which could obviously be the result of order and the norms of balance observed in their creation and placement.
This is clearly spelled out by the Quran when it says “He raised the heavens high and set the balance” (55:7). The verse, among other things, implies that after their creation, all the stars, planets and heavenly bodies were placed in proper order with a view to maintain necessary equilibrium and balance. Explaining it, the Quran further says: “The sun must not catch up the moon, nor does the night outstrip the day. Each one is travelling in an orbit with its own motion” (36:40). “Who created the seven heavens in harmony. You will not find any fault (disproportion) in the creation of the Merciful” (67:3,4). And “Such is the artistry of Allah. Who arranges all things in perfect order” (27:88).
What is most common and conspicuous in all these creations and their movements and functioning is the maintenance of requisite degree of balance and the resultant harmony. The lesson that one should learn could, therefore, be that order and balance are the pre-requisites of harmony and harmony is the pre-requisite of survival. It is because of such harmony that the system has survived for billions of years. If, human beings abide by the same principle in their private lives, in inter-personal relations, in national affairs and in international relations, there is no reason as to why they should not overcome most of the problems of this age and lead a happy and peaceful life.
Imbalance in the sphere of human activities results, among other things, from the commission of excesses. That’s why the Qur’an explicitly advises the human beings not to commit excesses (5:87). The Quran also advises us to be moderate (31:19). Moderation implies avoidance of excesses. The Quran also tells us about many nations that were wiped out from the earth because they had disturbed the balance to such an extent that their wiping out was the only way to restore the balance. The examples of the people of Hazrat Lut and that of Pharaoh and Madyan are most glaring. The people of Madyan were commercial people whose very way of life was affected by corruption, fraud and malpractices. In fact, they had disturbed the balance to such an extent that their total elimination could be the only way to restore it (11:84-94).The Quran further says “you will not find any change in the Way of Allah, nor will you see that a power can turn the Way of Allah from its appointed course” (35:43). Since maintenance of balance is one of the Ways of Allah, it gets restored one way or the other, sooner or later, as and when it is disturbed.
The importance of balance is manifest from the fact that the Quran has not only highlighted it but has also emphasised its maintenance. It says “He raised the heavens high and set the balance” (55:7). It says again “It is Allah Who sent the Book in truth and the balance” (42:17). And again “We sent our messengers with clear signs and sent down with them the Book and the balance” (57:25). It specifically advises the human beings not to disturb the balance (55:8).
A little bit pondering over these four verses taken together would reveal that Allah first made use of the rule of balance in setting the universe in proper order and then sent it down to the earth through Prophets and the Books so that it is followed and made use of by the human beings in their own spheres of influence and activities.