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YieldedOne
 
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Quote YieldedOne Replybullet Topic: Jesus' Great Commandments: The Bridge?
    Posted: 05 February 2011 at 8:01pm
Here's my thought.  I'll try to make it simple as possible.
 
One thing that both Muslims and Christians agree on is this: Jesus (Nabi Issa) is a prophet of God who is "divinely chosen to spread God's message."
 
Basically both Christians and Muslims venerate Jesus as a messenger of God who reveals truth from God.
 
Next...
 
Both Christians and Muslims venerate the Torah.  From this article...
 
"No true Muslim of the world can even think of any blasphemous act against the Bible.
According to a tradition of Abu-Dawud, once the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, went to settle a dispute within a Jewish tribe and a special mat was set for the Prophet to sit upon, but when the book of Torah was brought by the people, the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, stood up in respect of the Torah and placed the book on the mat which was placed for him and he himself sat on the ground."
 
Both Christians and Muslims are "people of the Book" in this way, reverencing the Torah as divine truth.
 
Now...Matthew 22:34-40...
 
But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
 
Here, Jesus is quoting two things from...well, now...the Torah.  Deuteronomy 6:4 and Leviticus 19:18.
 
So, you have a divinely-called prophet of God who reiterates two commandments spoken in the Torah...and saying that  "on these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."  Hmm...
 
Now, if this is the case, doesn't this mean that both Christians AND Muslims would hold the Great Commandments to be RELIGIOUSLY BINDING upon them because they have the SAME PROPHET communicating the SAME TRUTH from the SAME SOURCE in both religious contexts?  Neither Muslims nor Christians would say that the Prophet Jesus who speaks for God should be ignored or disobeyed...especially when He is a Prophet who is specifically referencing the Torah.
 
Bottom line: It would seem that the importance and priority of Great Commandments spoken by the Prophet of God, Jesus, would be an ESSENTIAL COMMON GROUND between Islam and Christianity.  Neither Christians NOR Muslims can ignore Jesus' re-emphasis of Torah commandments WITHOUT implicitly denying his authority as divine prophet.
 
So...if we were to get a Muslim imam and a Eastern Orthodox bishop...and talk about Jesus (Issa) emphasizing the Torah-based commandments of loving God with all of oneself and loving the neighbor as oneself...there really couldn't be that much difference on THAT issue.  They would BOTH have to say that those commandments are AUTHORITATIVE to guide their lives.
 
Does that make sense? 
 
This is what I think is the essential message of the Prophet Jesus:
 
Human beings are to express singular worship of and submission to the One Uncreated Creator by works of loving-kindness and compassion to ourselves and others...and thanksgiving, adoration and glorification to the Creator. In this, we are also to consecrate ourselves and be holy, compassionate, merciful, and loving because our Creator is holy, compassionate, merciful and loving.
 
Any and all thoughts welcome!


Edited by YieldedOne - 06 February 2011 at 9:15am
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YieldedOne
 
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Quote YieldedOne Replybullet Posted: 06 February 2011 at 5:15am

The idea above is not necessarily new.   Check it out.



Edited by YieldedOne - 06 February 2011 at 5:16am
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Quote YieldedOne Replybullet Posted: 06 February 2011 at 5:10pm
Is all this ok, moderators and admins?  I hope so... Smile
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Quote YieldedOne Replybullet Posted: 07 February 2011 at 6:22am
I think that there are two bedrock foundations undergirding the  thoughts above  that are specifically linked to the Quranic texts...

1) Authority of Moses as Prophet of God and "ground" of the Torah.

2) Jesus (Isa) as God-sanctioned faithful "brother" within the "Children of Israel" and Prophet of God to the same.
 
I just can't see how a knowledgeable, faithful Muslim or Christian could disavow the two major beliefs above. 
 
From the Quranic perspective, Surah 61:6-7 demonstates both of these points this amply...
 
"And remember what Jesus, son of Mary, had said: "O children of Israel, I am indeed a Messenger sent to you by Allah, confirming the Torah which has come before me and giving the good news of a Messenger who shall come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad."

From what I understand, Moses as Prophet is a MAJOR Quranic ground for the authenticity of Muhammad. To deny the Authority of Moses would be implicitly to deny that Muhammed was a "prophet like unto Moses" and the given authority as such.   That's unacceptable. 

Next, Jesus (Isa)...as Jewish "brother" (Martin Buber), a covenantal member of the "Children of Israel" to whom the Torah was given by God...is directly asserted in the Quran to be an authentic Prophet and Messenger sent by God with direct revelation of the Torah's truth from God himself. 

From the orthodox Christian perspective (and Jewish, too), the Authority of Moses and the Torah is taken for granted.  As is Jesus being a member of the "Children of Israel" as well as Prophet sent by God to those "Children."
 
Now...there are obvious differences...and we should say that straight out.  We know that Muslims and Christians will legitimately differ on the fulness of what Jesus' relationship with God actually was. Obviously. I really don't think that's gonna change. As long as the Quran specifically speaks against belief in a Trinity, a  faithful Muslim that believes what Muhammed says about that is NOT gonna be fully accepting of the Christian Eucharist--an essential aspect of orthodox Christianity--and it's Trinitarian implications. As long as the Quran specifically denies that Jesus is the Son of God, an orthodox Christian is not gonna be fully accepting of the Quran as genuine, authoritative revelation of God...nor will they fully accept the proclaimer of such (Muhammad) to be "from God" given 1 John 2:23.

At the same time...

Neither Christians NOR Muslims can deny the Authority of Moses as Prophet of God and "ground" of the Torah and Jesus (Isa) as God-sanctioned faithful "brother" within the "Children of Israel" and Prophet of God to the same.

and from that...

--The Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)
--Leviticus 19:9-18
--The belief that Allah is Compassionate, Merciful, Gracious, and Loving, (per the Quranic and Biblical texts stating such)
--The belief that Jesus proclaimed 1-3 as a faithful messenger and servant of Allah per the Quran.
 
Again, any thoughts are welcome with this.    Have fun with it!  LOL


Edited by YieldedOne - 07 February 2011 at 6:35am
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Quote YieldedOne Replybullet Posted: 08 February 2011 at 11:10am
Hmmm...doesn't seem to be much interest yet. Smile  Say admins and mods, you all game?  I'm really looking for some feedback on the ideas.  Are they mistaken?  Unclear?  I'm open to changing my perspective as needed.  It's all about growing in understanding!
 
Anyone? Big%20smile
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islamispeace
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Quote islamispeace Replybullet Posted: 08 February 2011 at 8:40pm
Hi YieldedOne.  I think what you have said makes sense but it is nothing new.  There are many similarities between Islam and Christianity.  No one will deny that.  The problem is that the differences are in the most important issues, such as the status of Jesus.  Let's face it.  Similarities in accepting the authority of Moses (pbuh) as a prophet or agreeing that Allah is merciful and loving is trumped by the differences is the way we look at Jesus (pbuh).  Christians worships Jesus as God.  This is blasphemy to Muslims.  Conversely, that Muslims deny Jesus as God is blasphemous to Christians.  These are grave differences and they unfortunately trump the similarities.
Say: "Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, are (all) for Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds. (Surat al-Anaam: 162)

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Quote YieldedOne Replybullet Posted: 09 February 2011 at 6:31am

Thanks very much, Islamispeace.  I really appreciate the response.  Much! Clap 

You said:
I think what you have said makes sense but it is nothing new.  There are many similarities between Islam and Christianity.  No one will deny that.  The problem is that the differences are in the most important issues, such as the status of Jesus.  Let's face it.  Similarities in accepting the authority of Moses (pbuh) as a prophet or agreeing that Allah is merciful and loving is trumped by the differences is the way we look at Jesus (pbuh).  Christians worships Jesus as God.  This is blasphemy to Muslims.  Conversely, that Muslims deny Jesus as God is blasphemous to Christians.  These are grave differences and they unfortunately trump the similarities.

I'm aware of the grave differences, and frankly, they'll probably be here to stay.  I mentioned those as well.  However, my issue is the issue of faith-grounded "neighborliness" between the faithful members of the "People(s) of the Book."

My main point is this:
For any people who believe Isa, Son of Mary, is the God-authenticated messenger, servant, and prophet of God who "confirms the Torah" by speaking truth about it's core affirmations, they are faith-bound to "neighborliness" to others because of what Isa affirms from the Torah.


From the orthodox Christian perspective, the Great Commandments of loving God with all the heart, soul, mind, and strength...and loving the "neighbor" (any and all other human beings) as oneself.  From the Christian standpoint, both Paul and Jesus affirm that loving the neighbor as the self (as conceptualized in Leviticus 19:9-18) encapuslates the core meaning of the Torah and the Prophets.  That means REGARDLESS of whatever "blasphemous" belief a person may have, orthodox Christians are faith-bound, by allegience to God's Messiah and Prophet Jesus as he reified the central truths of the Torah, to love the Muslim as themselves and in so doing, demonstrate love for Jesus' God.  If a Christian believes that Jesus is a genuine "messenger" from God and his chosen Messiah, then they cannot just treat Muslim faithful in any kind of mean or unjust way.  Why?  Because they are "NEIGHBORS."  If I saw any supposedly self-reflective, knowledgeable Christian that did any thing other than love their Muslim "neighbors" as themselves in and through loving God, I would say that they were being quite inconsistent with their faith in Jesus and his proclaimed Truth.  There's absolutely no denying that for Christians.

From what I've seen of Islamic sources, there is a definite reverence of the "original" Torah and Jesus as a "confirmer" of that Torah.  Here is a quote I found from Sohib N. Sultan's The Qur'an and Sayings of Prophet Muhammad: Selections Annotated & Explained  on page 24, where there was comment on Surah 3:3-4...

The Torah of Moses and the Gospel of Jesus are mentioned here as scriptures that were sent by God for the purpose of guidance.  As such, Muslims are required, by faith, to believe in the unaltered, original Torah and Gospel as books of revelation.  However, emphasis must be placed on the word "original" because Muslims believe that the Torah and Gospel were altered by the hands of men in later generations.

He's talking about some means of "tahrif" of the Torah that's been taken to supposedly obscure things in it, right?  Well, I think that's a major question I have: Is the message of Leviticus 19:9-18) one of the things that has been claimed to have been "corrupted" by Jews or Christians? Is there any Islamic authoritative source that basically says that the subject matter is Leviticus 19:9-18 of the Torah is "corrupted" and is therefore not applicable for Muslim faith? There is no way that the Torah can just be totally thrown out of hand.  I've not seen anything that says that absolutely every verse in the Torah is unusable for guidance by Allah.  (If there is such a thing, I would love for you brothers and sisters to show me such.  that'd be so helpful! Wink)

It appears to me that if there is no justifiable reason to "throw out" Leviticus 19:9-18 (and it's relatively simple injunctions about not stealing, not lying, not promoting injustice, etc), then it would seem that self-reflective knowledgeable Muslims are just as faith-bound by that Torah-truth as Christians are. 

Let me place Leviticus 19 stuff here...
 
“You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; you shall not lie to one another.  You shall not swear by my name falsely, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord."
 
“You shall not oppress your neighbor or rob him. The wages of a hired servant shall not remain with you all night until the morning. You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God: I am the Lord."
 
“You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor. You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the Lord."
 
“You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him.  You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord."
 
The principles in these seem fairly straightforward.  Is there any type of asserted "tahrif" in this Torah teaching that disavows it from Muslim faith?
According to Wikipedia, Amin Ahsan Islahi writes about four types of tahrif:
 
1. To deliberately interpret something in a manner that is totally opposite to the intention of the author. To distort the pronunciation of a word to such an extent that the word changes completely.
 
2. To add to or delete a sentence or discourse in a manner that completely distorts the original meaning. For example, according to Islam, the Jews altered the incident of the migration of the Prophet Abraham in a manner that no one could prove that Abraham had any relationship with the Ka‘bah.
 
3. To translate a word that has two meanings in the meaning that is totally against the context. For example the Hebrew word that is equivalent to the Arabic ‘ابن’ was translated as ‘son’ whereas it also meant ‘servant’ and ‘slave’.
 
4. To raise questions about something that is absolutely clear in order to create uncertainty about it, or to change it completely.
 
Do you, dear readers,  believe that any of these things are going on with respect to the core messages of Leviticus 19:9-18?
 
-------------------------------------
 
Sidenote: Can you imagine what interfaith discourse between Muslims and Christians would be like if we treated each other like "neighbors" as stated above?  It would revolutionize the conversation, I believe!


Edited by YieldedOne - 09 February 2011 at 6:54am
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Quote YieldedOne Replybullet Posted: 09 February 2011 at 6:36am

I'll say this flat-out:

The differences in the way Muslims and Christians look at the fulness of Jesus' relationship to God does NOT "override" Jesus' prophetic, Torah-affriming call to "neighborliness" to the other.
 
I thought Surah 4:36 was interesting...
 
Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbor, the neighbor farther away, the companion at your side, the traveler, and those whom your right hands possess. Indeed, Allah does not like those who are self-deluding and boastful.
 
From the commentary I've seen on this passage, the "neighbor farther away" refers to non-family, to the stranger.
 
Here's a section from "A Common Word Between Us and You", written by Muslims...
 

LOVE OF THE NEIGHBOUR IN ISLAM

          There are numerous injunctions in Islam about the necessity and paramount importance of love for—and mercy towards—the neighbour. Love of the neighbour is an essential and integral part of faith in God and love of God because in Islam without love of the neighbour there is no true faith in God and no righteousness. The Prophet Muhammad r said: “None of you has faith until you love for your brother what you love for yourself.”xviiiAnd: “None of you has faith until you love for your neighbour what you love for yourself.”xix

            However, empathy and sympathy for the neighbour—and even formal prayers— are not enough. They must be accompanied by generosity and self-sacrifice. God says in the Holy Qur’an:

It is not righteousness that ye turn your facesxx to the East and the West; but righteous is he who believeth in God and the Last Day and the angels and the Scripture and the prophets; and giveth wealth, for love of Him, to kinsfolk and to orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and to those who ask, and to set slaves free; and observeth proper worship and payeth the poor-due. And those who keep their treaty when they make one, and the patient in tribulation and adversity and time of stress. Such are they who are sincere. Such are the pious. (Al-Baqarah 2:177)

            And also:

Ye will not attain unto righteousness until ye expend of that which ye love. And whatsoever ye expend, God is Aware thereof. (Aal ‘Imran, 3:92)

          Without giving the neighbour what we ourselves love, we do not truly love God or the neighbour.



Edited by YieldedOne - 09 February 2011 at 7:21am
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