The wars and conflicts that left their mark on the 20th century are continuing to threaten all humanity in the new century. The threat of war, which is rising every day, and international terror targeting all of innocent humanity, making no allowances for women, children or the elderly, may lead to very serious material losses. However, despite the need for increased international solidarity felt in the face of this, certain circles are engaging in activities aimed at spreading conflict still further. In the light of the clash of civilizations thesis, attempts are being made to lay the ground for a plan aimed at bringing two great civilizations, the Christian West and Islam, into conflict with one another. These circles, which intend to achieve their aims by benefiting from the climate on chaos that will arise, sadly fail to think that such a measure will also result in terrible disaster for themselves.
In such a state of affairs, a great responsibility falls onto the shoulders of members of the two great faiths, the foundations of both civilizations, in order for world peace to be established. Rather than engaging in conflict, both parties need to increase the co-operation between them as a requirement of the peace and love that form the essence of both divine faiths.
Believers in the One Allah (God) Should Strive against Atheism, Not against One Another
It is a fact that a big intellectual struggle is still taking place in the world, and that the world is divided into two poles. However, it is not Muslims and Jews/Christians who are the supporters of these poles. On the one side are those who believe in the existence and oneness of Allah (God), and on the other are deniers; to put it another way, we have the proponents of religious moral values on one side and the proponents of ideologies opposed to such values on the other.
It is also a fact that the opponents of religious moral values and those forces which target those values have combined the broad means at their disposal and are acting in alliance against sincere believers. In order to eliminate this evil alliance on the intellectual plane, to do away with the negative, destructive consequences of atheistic, materialist indoctrination and to establish societies in which moral virtues, happiness, peace, security and well-being prevail, the three major forces on the other side of the equation, Muslims and sincere Christians and devout Jews need to come together in the light of this common objective.
The holy scriptures of the three Revealed religions describe how Jews, Christians and Muslims share common bases of belief, worship and moral values. The responsibility of true Christians, Jews and Muslims possessed of faith, conscience and common sense is to engage in a joint intellectual struggle against wickedness and the evil, to assist one another, and to work in unity and unison. This union must be constructed on the basic principles of love, respect, tolerance, understanding, harmony and cooperation. They need to bear in mind the urgency of the situation and strongly avoid anything that might lead to disputes, argument or division.
There may have been various misunderstandings among the members of these faiths in the past; that is a historical truth. But these stemmed, not from the essence of Christianity, Judaism and Islam, but from mistaken decisions and ideas on the part of states, communities and individuals, and usually from economic or political interests and expectations. Otherwise, one of the common aims of all three Revealed religions is for everyone to live in peace, security and happiness, and conflict violating this is wrong in the eyes of all three faiths.
When we look at the New Testament, the foundation of Christianity, at the Torah, the basis of Judaism, and at the Qur’an, on which Islam is founded, we see that pleasant speech and behavior is recommended in mutual relations.
A good action and a bad action are not the same. Repel the bad with something better and, if there is enmity between you and someone else, he will be like a bosom friend. (Surah Fussilat, 34)
The kind of behavior that people should adopt towards one another is described in these terms in the Bible:
“…always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.” (1 Thessalonians, 5/15)
In the Torah, the way that Jews must behave well towards other people is set out as follows:
"Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you, just as you say He is. Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts..." (Amos, 5:14-15)
In the Qur’an, our Lord has revealed the importance of good moral values, goodness, and of responding to evil with good. He has commanded Muslims to treat Jews and Christians, the Peoples of the Book, with good intentions and tolerance. It is revealed in the Qur’an that the Peoples of the Book, Christians and Jews in other words, are much closer to Muslims than are pagans or atheists. The Peoples of the Book possess moral criteria and the concepts of lawful and unlawful, based on the revelation of Allah. For that reason it is lawful for Muslims to eat food prepared by a member of the Peoples of the Book. In the same way, Muslim men are permitted to marry women from the Peoples of the Book. These are foundations that will permit the construction of warm human relations and a peaceful common life.
Since thus a moderate and tolerant attitude is recommended in the Qur’an it is impossible for a Muslim to hold any ideas to the contrary.
In the Qur’an, Allah has told Muslims to speak pleasantly to the Peoples of the Book. The most important element that Muslims and the Peoples of the Book hold is without doubt faith in the one Allah:
Only argue with the People of the Book in the kindest way–except in the case of those of them who do wrong–saying, ‘We believe in what has been sent down to us and what was sent down to you. Our God and your God are one and we submit to Him.’ (Surat al-‘Ankabut, 46)
Muslims’ Love of the Prophet ‘Isa (as)
One of the most important and unifying elements between Christianity and Islam is the love that the members of both faiths feel for the Prophet ‘Isa (as). The Qur’an describes how all the prophets have communicated the same Divine message, that they have imparted glad tidings to and warned people, and have also been the best role models for their communities. It is for that reason that Muslims believe in all the prophets, and make no distinction between them. Muslims believe in the Prophet ‘Isa (as) as they do in the Prophet Muhammad (saas), and feel great love and respect for him. In the Qur’an, the Prophet ‘Isa (as) is described as “The Messenger of Allah and His Word” (Surat an-Nisa’, 171); and it is revealed in verse 91 of Surat al-Anbiya’ that he was made a sign for humanity. Very important information about his struggle, miracles and life is also provided. The superior moral values of the Prophet ‘Isa (as) is praised as follows in the Qur’an:
When the angels said, ‘Maryam, your Lord gives you good news of a Word from Him. His name is the Messiah, ‘Isa, son of Maryam, of high esteem in this world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near.’ (Surah Al ‘Imran, 45)
Muslims believe that the Bible is a Divine text sent down from the Presence of Allah (but that it was subsequently corrupted by human beings but that it still preserves various divine stipulations). They know that the Bible was sent down to Christians by Allah as a guide, with features distinguishing between right and wrong, lawful and unlawful. The qualities of the Bible given to ‘Isa are revealed in these terms in one verse of the Qur’an:
And We sent ‘Isa son of Maryam 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 guard against evil. (Surat al-Ma’ida, 46)
It is also noted in the Qur’an that Christians will enjoy a special friendship with Muslims in comparison to other communities of believers. The way that it is Christians who are closest to Muslims and the reason for this is set out as follows in one verse:
.. You will find the people most affectionate to those who believe are those who say, ‘We are Christians.’ That is because some of them are priests and monks and because they are not arrogant. (Surat al-Ma’ida, 82)
The first examples of this closeness and these warm relations revealed in this verse took place in the time of the Prophet Muhammad (saas). A number of oppressed Muslims migrated, at the direction of the Prophet Muhammad (saas), to Abyssinia, ruled by the Christian king Ashama, where they lived in peace and security. In the early years of Islam excellent relations founded on toleration peace, love, co-operation, solidarity and the principle of freedom of religion, belief and worship were established among Christians and Muslims. Again during that time, aspects of social life such as marriage, trade and neighborliness were practiced in an exemplary manner by all Muslims and Christians.
Moreover, the scriptures of both faiths contain the principle of treating those people not of their numbers with friendship and allying themselves with them in goodness, rather than treating them as enemies. One important passage in this regard can be found in the gospels of Mark and Luke in the New Testament. The Prophet ‘Isa warned his disciples against treating anyone who was not one of them coldly, and said “he who is not against us is from us,” an expression of a most significant perspective. These statements in the Bible must serve as a guide for Christians in the way they look at Muslims. Muslims think differently to Christians on certain subjects; yet they are never opposed to Christianity. On the contrary, Muslims are a community who love the Prophet ‘Isa (as) as well as Christians do, who regard him as an envoy of Allah, and who wait his return to Earth with great excitement and enthusiasm.
The Virtues of the Prophet ‘Isa (as), a Messenger of Peace and Love, Must Serve as a Role Model for Christian Leaders
The New Testament states many times that the Prophet ‘Isa (as) will return again to Earth. According to Hebrews in the Bible, “To those who eagerly wait for Him (Christ) He will appear a second time … for salvation.” (Hebrews, 9:28)
The glad tidings of the second coming of the Prophet ‘Isa (as) are imparted in many other passages in the Bible, as well.
Muslims are people who have a profound love for the Prophet ‘Isa (as), who believe in his miracles and superior virtues, that he will return to Earth and, with the Mahdi, cause religious moral values to prevail over the world, and who are awaiting this with great enthusiasm. Both Muslims and the Christian world need to make preparations for the return to Earth of the Prophet ‘Isa (as).
We can learn what kind of preparations need to be made before the coming of the Prophet ‘Isa (as) from the verses of the Qur’an, from the hadiths of our Prophet (saas), and from the side interpretations by such great Islamic scholars as Bediuzzaman Said Nursi. The most important phase of this preparation is the joint intellectual struggle to be waged against systems that are incompatible with religious moral values. All believers must unite in an intellectual struggle against atheist ideologies such as Darwinism and materialism that turn people away from such values. They must work together for such ideologies to be eliminated from the world. The Prophet ‘Isa (as) will establish such an alliance when he returns once again to Earth and will prepare a climate of love, peace and well-being.
Both the Christian world and Muslims need to make wide-ranging preparations for the coming of the Prophet ‘Isa (as), and must await this worthy guest with enthusiasm and excitement. Failure to make preparations for the coming of this holy prophet, making concessions or being apathetic about it, failing to attach the requisite importance to this great event, may be a cause of terrible disgrace when the Prophet ‘Isa (as) returns.
It must not be forgotten that the return of the Prophet ‘Isa (as) is not an event that will affect only some regions of the world. His return will be powerful and miraculous enough to affect the entire planet. With the coming of this holy individual, there will be radical, global changes in the social and political spheres, and the whole world will combine around the Prophet ‘Isa (as) and the Mahdi, the other holy personage of the End Times.
The day, hour and place of the return of the Prophet ‘Isa (as) are set out in the Sight of Allah. No earthly event can either delay or hasten his coming.
Some circles today are mistakenly attempting to establish a connection between the coming of the Prophet ‘Isa (as) and the climate of chaos in the world, especially with the war and confusion in the Middle East, and are even making various concrete efforts in that regard. The fact is, however, that the coming of the Prophet ‘Isa (as) is Divinely appointed and both Muslims and the Christian world must await the coming of the Prophet ‘Isa (as) with peace and in a climate of love.
Those who love and follow the Prophet ‘Isa (as) must, like him, treat people with love. True Christians must not espouse war and bloodshed against Muslims, who also believe in Allah and love ‘Isa (as) as a great prophet. What they must do, as true believers, is to adopt an attitude of love, peace, friendship and reconciliation.
Terrible experiences in world history have witnessed over again that the results to be obtained from peace and reconciliation cannot be obtained by people being killed in war. The world of the 21st century must be one that has learned from the deaths of millions of people in wars, one constructed by civilized people. Politicians and the leaders of all countries in the world we are currently living in must be people who resolve problems by civilized and peaceful means.
Since all Christians and Muslims, who believe in the Prophet ‘Isa (as), will combine in a common belief when he returns, efforts must be made right from the present moment to overcome prejudices and distrust among Christians and Muslims.
The Prophet ‘Isa (as) Commanded Peace
Great respect has to be shown for differences of faith in the knowledge that the Prophet ‘Isa (as) will teach people the truth. A great effort has to be made in order to fill the world with the peace, brotherhood, compassion and love that he will wish to see.
There is no doubt that we all of us hope that the Middle East can become a secure land in which Jews, Muslims and Christians can all live together in peace. To that end, first and foremost, all sides must lay aside their prejudices and evaluate events in a sound manner and come together for the sake of a bright future as befits people of conscience. For that reason, Christians have an important responsibility to world peace as one party to this alliance.
In conclusion, true Christians must never forget the word of the Prophet ‘Isa (as) “Blessed are the peacemakers.” (Matthew 5:9) in which he commands them to be ambassadors of peace.
The advent of the Prophet Isa (pbuh) is not an event that will affect only some regions of the world. His advent is a miraculous event, powerful enough to impact the entire world. With the coming of this blessed Prophet (pbuh), there will be radical social and political changes all around the world and the entire world will join together around the Prophet Isa (pbuh).2008-07-19 19:15:38