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A Call For Unity - Harun Yahya
A CALL FOR UNITY



MUSLIMS AND THE PEOPLE OF THE BOOK

 


People of the Book! Our Messenger has come to you, making clear to you much of the Book that you have kept concealed, and passing over a lot. A Light has come to you from God and a Clear Book. (Qur'an, 5:15)

This book reveals that Muslims, Christians, and Jews have common principles of faith, worship, and moral values; face common dangers; and calls on the People of the Book (Christians and Jews) to unite with Muslims as fellow believers opposed to atheism, anti-religiosity, and social as well as moral degeneration. In short, it is an invitation to spread virtue around the world, a call to all Jews, Christians, and Muslims who are sincere, conscientious, tolerant, helpful, conciliatory, reasonable, virtuous, peaceful, and fair to recognize that we believe in the same God and strive to live and extend the reach of God's morality. The followers of these three faiths believe that God created the universe and sustains all matter; created all life forms in a miraculous way; gave each human being a soul; sent Prophets to humanity throughout history, like Prophet Mohammed (may God bless him and grant him peace), and Prophets Jesus, Moses, Noah, David, Abraham, Isaac, and Joseph (peace be upon them all); created our lives according to destiny; and believe in the Resurrection, Hell, Paradise, and angels.

The People of the Book and Muslims also have common moral values. For example, in a world in which prostitution, homosexuality, and drug abuse, together with selfishness, greed, and hardheartedness are spreading fast, they value and seek to live by honor, chastity, modesty, selflessness, honesty, compassion, mercy, and unconditional love.

We Muslims love and respect Prophets Moses (pbuh) and Jesus (pbuh), know that they are loved and dear people in God's presence, and believe in all His Prophets. Furthermore, we respect Jewish and Christian beliefs, values, and traditions, for God commands us to invite the People of the Book to unite on a common premise:

Say: "O People of the Book! Come to a proposition that is the same for us and you - that we should worship none but God, not associate any partners with Him, and not take one another as lords besides God." If they turn away, say: "Bear witness that we are Muslims." (Qur'an, 3:64)

This is our call to Jews and Christians: As believers in God and His revelation, let us unite in faith, love and obey our Master and Creator, and pray to Him for enlightenment. When Muslims, Christians, and Jews unite under these premises, when they realize that they are friends and not enemies, and when they see that the real enemies are atheism and irreligion, the world will become an altogether different place. Wars, antagonisms, fears, and violence will end, and a new civilization founded on this common premise, one based on love, respect, and contentment, will emerge.

Islam Accepts Judaism and Christianity

There is a basic difference between how the members of the divinely revealed religions view each other. Judaism does not recognize Christianity and Islam, which superseded it, and Christianity recognizes Judaism but not Islam, which superseded it. Islam however, recognizes both Judaism and Christianity as divinely revealed religions that originated in God's revelation and does not view them as systems of idolatry or unbelief. Rather, it regards Jews and Christians as People of the Book and advises Muslims to accept and respect their beliefs:

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. (Qur'an, 2:1-4)


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, previously, as guidance for humanity... (Qur'an, 3:3-4)

These verses describe Muslims as people who believe in the Qur'an revealed to Prophet Mohammed (may God bless him and grant him peace) as well as in the earlier divinely revealed books: the Pages of Abraham (pbuh), the Torah revealed to Moses (pbuh), the Book of Psalms revealed to David (pbuh), and the Gospel revealed to Jesus (pbuh). However, over time these books were tampered with and therefore contain both accurate (e.g., belief in God, virtue, the Day of Judgment, and the rejection of idolatry), and inaccurate information. One verse says:

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, previously, as guidance for humanity... (Qur'an, 3:3-4)

Another verse states the following about the Torah:

We sent down the Torah containing guidance and light, and the Prophets who had submitted themselves gave judgment by it for the Jews - as did their scholars and their rabbis - by what they had been allowed to preserve of God's Book, to which they were witnesses. (Qur'an, 5:44)

The Qur'an reveals that some Jewish scholars and rabbis "distorted words from their proper meanings" in the Torah (Qur'an, 5:41) and falsified it: "Woe to those who write the Book with their own hands and then say: 'This is from God,' to sell it for a paltry price" (Qur'an, 2:79). Christians, on the other hand, made a grave mistake by deifying Jesus (pbuh) Qur'an, 4:171). However, God's revelation of such mistakes does not mean that the People of the Book are in complete ignorance and error, for He also reveals that some of them are deeply religious and devoted to God:

They are not all the same. There is a community among the People of the Book who are upright. They recite God's Signs throughout the night, and they prostrate. They believe in God 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. God knows those who guard against evil. (Qur'an, 3:113-15)

Among the People of the Book are some who believe in God and in what has been sent down to you and what was sent down to them, and who are humble before God. They do not sell God's Signs for a paltry price. Such people will have their reward with their Lord. And God is swift at reckoning. (Qur'an, 3:199)

Therefore, a Muslim's attitude toward the People of the Book reflects the probable existence of genuinely faithful people among them. Only God knows the hearts of people, and He reveals that some Jews and Christians have earned His good pleasure.

Prophet Abraham (pbuh) Was a Haneef

God reveals that He has created a way and a method for all nations. Throughout history, He has sent Prophets to people to inform them of His laws, commands, and prohibitions. Essentially, all Prophets have invited their nations to believe in and worship God and to abide by the limits He has established for humanity. In other words, all true religions in their original state are based on the principles of not associating others with Him and of working to win His good pleasure, compassion, and Paradise. All nations are expected to follow God's will without fail and to do good deeds in order to earn His reward:

We have appointed a law and a practice for every one of you. Had God willed, He would have made you a single community, but He wanted to test you regarding what has come to you. So, compete with each other in doing good. Every one of you will return to God, and He will inform you regarding the things about which you differed. (Qur'an, 5:48)


Then We revealed to you: "Follow the religion of Abraham, a man of pure natural belief. He was not one of the idolaters." (Qur'an, 16:123)

The People of the Book were given a different law than the Muslims, but all sincere Jews, Christians, and Muslims are required to submit wholeheartedly to Him, do what is good, and compete in doing good deeds. All of them who believe in God's existence and unity and the Hereafter and do good deeds are, in reality, following the true religion revealed to Abraham (pbuh).

God reveals that Adam (pbuh) was the first of a long line of Prophets, to which his descendents Noah and Abraham (peace be upon them all) also belong:

"Peace be upon Noah, among all beings." That is how We recompense the good-doers. He truly was one of Our servants who believes. Then We drowned the rest. One of his followers in faith was Abraham. (Qur'an, 37:79-83)

The Qur'an reveals that Abraham (pbuh) was a haneef, meaning one who surrenders to God's will, not compromising in any way on his religion, and being devout. In one verse, God commands Prophet Mohammed (may God bless him and grant him peace) to abide by this religion:

Then We revealed to you: "Follow the religion of Abraham, a man of pure natural belief. He was not one of the idolaters." (Qur'an, 16:123)

Abraham's (pbuh) sons, grandchildren, and other devout Muslim descendents all abided by his religion, for,

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, Ishmail and Isaac - one God. We are Muslims submitted to Him." (Qur'an, 2:130-33)


… 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." (Qur'an, 2:133)

As we can see, the religion followed by Abraham (pbuh) represents the common ground among Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Love, faith, and respect for Abraham (pbuh) are just as important to Muslims as they are for Christians and Jews. However, those who follow his morality are the ones who are closest to him. He was exuberant in his faith in God, loved him deeply, followed all of His commands willingly, and thus was an example for all humanity. As God says:

The people with the strongest claim to Abraham are those who followed him and this Prophet, and those who believe. God is the Protector of the believers. (Qur'an, 3:68)

Therefore, all Jews and Christians, who believe wholeheartedly in God, like Abraham (pbuh) and the believers who followed him, must only turn to God and follow this great Prophet's example of virtue, sincerity, and insight. The best way to show one's love, obedience, and closeness to the Prophets is by emulating them. Muslims do not discriminate among all of the Prophets and what was revealed to them, for God commands:

Say: "We believe in God 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." (Qur'an, 2:136)