The 22,000-square-kilometer illegal state of Israel has a total population of about 8.5 million. This population is less than the city of Lahore in Pakistan, but this country rules the world.
Today, Israel has become the world's most technologically advanced superpower, while Israel is one of the world's top five arms sellers. Israel sells 7 billion $ in net weapons each year. Israel's arms customers include developed countries such as Russia, South Korea, Australia, France and Germany. One can only guess how big a power Israel has become! Israel has also become the world's largest exporter of drones. Israel accounts for 60% of the global drone market. In addition, today Israel sells more than 60 billion $ worth of goods abroad. Of these exports, about ً 22 billion worth of goods include state-of-the-art military and non-military equipment. These items include fighter jets, drones, modern computers, integrated circuits and missiles.
TENTH TRUTH: The gate of Wisdom, Grace, Mercy, and Justice, the manifestation of the Names the All-Wise, the All-Munificent, the All-Just, and the All- Merciful. The Majestic Owner of all existence displays such manifest wisdom, evident grace, overwhelming justice, and comprehensive mercy in this impermanent world, transitory testing ground, and unstable display hall of the earth. Is it conceivable that He would not have permanent abodes with immortal inhabitants residing in everlasting stations in His visible and invisible, corporeal and incorporeal realms ad so He would allow that all these realities of wisdom, grace, mercy, and justice to decline into nothingness?
Would the All-Wise choose us to receive His direct and universal address; make us a comprehensive mirror to Himself; let us taste, measure, and get to know the contents of His treasuries of Mercy; make Himself known to us with all His Names; love us and make Himself beloved by us—and then not send us to an eternal realm, an abode of permanent bliss, and make us happy therein?
Would He lay on every being, even a seed, a burden as heavy as a tree, charge it with duties as numerous as flowers, and appoint to it beneficial consequences as numerous as fruits, while assigning to them purposes that are relevant only here? Why would He restrict His purpose to this worldly life, something less valuable than a grain of a mustard seed?
Would it not be more reasonable for Him to make beings in this world as seeds for the immaterial world of meanings and essences, where the true meanings of everything here will be manifested, and as a tillage for the Hereafter, where they will yield their true and worthy produce?
Would He really allow such significant parades and performances (as we witness) to be purposeless, void, and futile? Why would He not employ them for the sake of eternity in the Eternal, Immaterial World of Meanings and Essences, so that they might reveal their true purposes and fitting results there?
The people must strive in du'ā' while avoiding supplication against the people when they have not been transgressed upon. If they are patient and pardon those who wrong them, this is better. If someone harms you or makes a mistake towards you, do not supplicate against the people; rather, be patient and Allāh will compensate you with better than what you left.
It is upon the Muslim to have the proper etiquette when making du'ā'. He should be certain that Allāh is going to answer his du'ā', and he should supplicate sincerely to Allāh the Exalted. He should avoid eating and consuming the harām, as this will prevent his du'ā' from being accepted.
Likewise, he must not become hasty and impatient with his du'ā' being accepted and he should not despair from the mercy of Allāh. He should not say, "I supplicated and supplicated but my du'ā' was not answered," and as a result he will stop making du'ā' and will despair from Allāh's mercy.
On the contrary, he must continue to supplicate. Allāh the Exalted has full knowledge of all things. Perhaps it is more beneficial for the person if the response to his du'ā' is delayed. Thus, all affairs return to Allāh the Exalted.
Breaking a promise is base humiliation and therefore irreconcilable with His Sanctity’s glory. Failure to carry out a threat can arise either from forgiveness or impotence (ignorance). Unbelief is an unforgivable crime.
The All-Powerful is exempt from and far above all impotence.
All who teach this and bear witness to it are all agreed on this fundamental, even though they follow different paths of thought and approach. Their testimony has the authority of learned consensus.
Each of them is a guiding light of humanity, the cherished one of a people and the object of their veneration. In importance, each is an expert and authority on this matter. In any art or science, two experts are preferred to thousands of non-experts, and two positive affirmers are preferred to thousands of negators in a report’s transmission.
For example, the testimony of two competent men that they have sighted the crescent moon marking the beginning of Ramadan nullifies the negation of thousands of deniers.
In short, this world contains no truer report, firmer claim, or more evi- dent truth than this. The world is a field, and the Resurrection is a thresh-ing-floor, a harvesting-ground for grain that will be stored in Paradise or Hell.
The word "dialogue" derives from two roots: "dia" means "through" and "logos" comprises many overlapping semantic fields and signifies, among others, "word" and "meaning". For us the word dialogue, which is also used in music and literature, is particularly important because of its meaning of "deliberation and conversation between individuals and groups."
In a dialogue, it is as if the meaning flows in separate rivers running beside one another in their own channel. This stream has a dynamic nature; it changes and grows. At times these rivers join together in a reservoir with a communal semantic or a lake of reconciliation.
The aim of a dialogue, in spite of differences of opinion and conviction, is to gain understanding and acceptance. The word "dialogue" is therefore distinct from the word discussion. Those who engage in dialogue do not seek to defeat or silence the other person, nor do they adopt a defensive attitude at the outset. They seek to find out, to learn and to understand collectively.
Dialogue implies being amenable to another person's point of view. It requires that one pay attention and listen to another individual so that the heart and the mind might "open." This mutual acceptance makes it possible to understand each other, learn together, and make a collective contribution. A wise person once stated, this process causes an endless deepening of meaning like two mirrors that reflect each other.
Dialogue is also one of the most effective means in the struggle against negative conditioning, prejudice, and fanaticism.
Certain qualities are essential if a dialogue is to be effective, and these qualities are: sincerity, humility, and epistemic curiosity.
Goodwill engenders trust. Mutual trust is the most important condition for the expression of deeper thought and feelings. Openhearted people do not fear communication with or the influence of others.
One of the greatest virtues is being able to set aside oneself for the sake of others. Sincerely humble people are aware of the limits of their abilities and always back away from transgression.
Humility implies the notion that we know little and still have much to learn. It also implies the willingness to change and develop in accordance with all that we have learned.
In dialogues that are governed by humility, both sides search for the boundaries of their available knowledge and notions and, they both depart to discover unknown places. They travel from the familiar to the unfamiliar.
The nature of people enables them to be curious and search for truth. This basic drive should be a primary component of a healthy foundation for dialogue.
Together we can search for the answers to these questions among many others:
Who are we?
Why do we exist?
What is our origin?
What is the destination of our journey?
What is our relationship to the Creator?
What is the relationship among people, life, and the universe?
What is the relationship between faith and science?
How should we interpret critical thinking?
Are their metaphysical laws, just as there are physical laws?
Most likely, the deepest desire of a person is to bequeath to subsequent generations, who will inhabit this aged earth until the end of time, something essential and of fundamental importance, thus giving to his own transiency an aspect of something that is long lasting.
Affection, virtue, compassion, fairness, and concord are universal aspects of spiritual enlightenment and happiness that will never lose their value. They are the conditions of a meaningful and blessed life and comprise the best legacy we could wish to leave others.
Is it reasonable to ask concerning the All-Majestic One, Who installs the atoms of all living beings in their respective bodies with perfect orderliness with the command of Be! and it is, and thus creates disciplined, wellorganized armies—is it reasonable to ask how He can re-assemble these atoms and bodily members, which have already known each other in perfectly organized battalions of bodies, after they have dispersed?
You see with your own eyes the numerous designs made by God as signs, similitudes, and analogies of the Resurrection. He displays them in every era, the alternation of day and night, even in the coming and going of clouds. If you imagine yourself a thousand years in the past and then compare past and future, you will see as many examples and analogies of the Resurrection as there are centuries and days past. If, after this, you still con- sider bodily Resurrection improbable and unacceptable to reason, there is something seriously wrong with your powers of reasoning.
Concerning this truth, the Supreme Decree says: Look upon the imprints of God’s Mercy, how He revives the earth after its death. He it is Who will revive the dead [in a similar way]. He has full power over everything (30:50). In short, there is nothing which makes the Resurrection impossible, and there is much necessitates it.
The glorious and eternal Lordship, the all-mighty and all-embracing Sovereignty, of the One Who gives life and death to this wide and wonder- ful earth as if it were a single organism; Who has made it as a pleasing cra- dle and handsome craft for humanity and animals; Who has made the sun a lamp that gives it both its light and heat; Who has made the planets transports for His angels—such Lordship and Sovereignty cannot be con- fined to a mutable, transitory, unstable, slight, and imperfect world. Thus there is another realm, one worthy of Him, immutable, permanent, stable, great, and perfect. He causes us to work for this realm and summons us to it. Those who have penetrated from outward appearances to truth, who have been ennobled by proximity to the Divine Presence, all spiritual “poles” endowed with light-filled hearts, and those with enlightened minds, testify that He will transfer us to that other kingdom. They teach us that He has prepared a reward and a requital for us there, and that He gives us His firm promises and stern warnings thereof.
COMMON GROUND BETWEEN ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY: Part 2
As the Bible and the Qur'an agree on many things, why then do Muslims and Christians perceive each other so differently and so often misunderstand each other? Such a question, of course, deserves an in-depth, multi-faceted answer; however, we will look at just one of those facets: a difference of emphasis and vocabulary.
Muslims tend to emphasize right action, while Christians tend to focus on right belief. Consequently, when Christians hear Muslims say that they are earning merit through their good deeds, they jump to the conclusion that Islam is a religion of works, not faith, and that Muslims are trying to earn their salvation, which no one can do. Also, Christians, disturbed by Muslims' emphasis on imitating the prophet Prophet Muhammad, perceive Muslims as legalistic and fixed on externals rather than on such transforming internals like as love. They not realize that for Muslims, good deeds earn merit only if one has faith, and that it is love of the Prophet that leads them to follow his example.
In turn, when Muslims hear Christians talking about freedom and love, they believe that Christians can sin as much as they want and still enter Paradise, a perception bolstered by the immorality of not only ordinary people but also of the highly visible religious and political leaders in the West. Muslims fail to understand that the love of God prevents pious Christians from sinning. And there are other similar vocabulary problems resulting in misunderstanding and misperception that are exacerbated by the natural belief that theirs is the true and final religion. This misguided attitude causes both Muslims and Christians to exaggerate any potential difference to its worst extreme, and to forget that their own religions have the same concepts, albeit sometimes de-emphasized or expressed differently.
Not all differences are a matter of misperception; a few are even fundamental. The most important one concerns the nature of God. Both Christianity and Islam agree that God is the Creator of the universe, the source of truth, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal, full of compassion and mercy, but also the One who dispenses justice. Despite this agreement, however, Christians believe in a Trinity, three persons in one Godhead: the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit. In contrast, Muslims (and Jews) assert that Jesus is not God, but and that God is one without any has no partners (Qur'an 37:4; Deuteronomy 6:4).
A second major difference is the concept of atonement. Christians believe that Jesus died as a sacrifice for everyone's sins (Hebrews 9:26; 1 Peter 1:2, 19; 1 John 2:2), which becomes effective for the individual upon his or her confession of belief to those who believe in Jesus (John 3:15-18; Romans 1:16). In Islam, though, sacrifices do not atone for sin but represent one's devotion to Allah. Consequently, no sacrificial intercessor is necessary or possible (Qur'an 2:256). Instead, God forgives those who sincerely repent and make right correct their previous wrongs.
Although the disagreement on the nature of God and on the atonement of Jesus seems unresolvable, most differences are more a matter of emphasis rather than of disagreement.
Christianity stresses right belief and faith, but no Christian would deny that they should do good deeds and have good behavior. On the contrary, they "work" hard to please God because of their faith. Muslims, on the other hand, assuming that faith is necessary, prefer to emphasize the practical side of perfecting their faith via good works. Christians and Muslims agree that faith is necessary and that good works are important.
In reality, if one were simply to watch the outward behavior of pious Muslims and Christians in their daily lives, it would be quite difficult to know who was a Muslim and who was a Christian-for the pious of both religions who love their God and who have surrendered their lives to Him pray much, help the needy, and are kind towards their neighbors and their families. Due to its shortness, this article will necessarily make broad generalizations that have many exceptions.
All hadiths not given a source come from the book The Sayings of Muhammad by Allama Sir Abdullah Alal-Ma'mun Alal-Suhrawardy, who affirmed their authenticity (p. 18).
COMMON GROUND BETWEEN ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY: Part 1
For many, Islam and Christianity have little in common. More than a few Christians misperceive Islam as a religion of the sword and of oppression, while many Muslims see Christianity as permissive and rampant with sin. Yet, much of this misperception arises from the different emphases and vocabulary peculiar to each religion. In fact, most of their practices and beliefs are quite similar, as they should be, since they came from prophets of Allah (God). By reading key concepts in the Bible, the Qur'an, and hadiths (traditions of the Prophet), we can see their common points.
FAITH AND WORKS
To receive the favor of Allah, faith and works are crucial. The Prophet Muhammad stated that faith is required to enter Paradise (Muslim 1:96), and the Apostle Paul wrote that, "the righteous will live by faith" (Romans 1:17). In both religions faith goes hand in hand with good deeds and requires them to perfect it (Qur'an 2:177; James 2:22). Indeed, Jesus says that only those who do God's will can enter heaven (Matthew 7:21).
Just as faith without works is dead (James 2:17), so, too, is it dead without love.
LOVE OF ONE'S NEIGHBOR
Muhammad affirmed: "You will not believe as long as you do not love one another" (Muslim 1: 96) and "No man is a true believer unless he wants for his brother that which he wants for himself" (Bukhari 1:12). Concurring, Jesus said that to love your neighbor as yourself was like loving God (Matthew 23:37-39).
Although the word "love" appears less frequently in the Qur'an than in the Bible, the notion of love permeates it. True love consists of right action towards one's neighbor, of taking care of others, of and helping those in need. In verse after verse, the Qur'an enjoins believers to be charitable to orphans, widows, travelers, and the poor. According to one hadith: "The best Islam is that you feed the hungry and spread peace among people you know and those you do not know." Similarly, Jesus tied Peter's loving him to taking care of his disciples (John 21:15-17), and John asserts that those who do not help a brother in need when they are able to do so do not have the love of God in them (1 John 3:17).
LOVE OF GOD
Love of neighbors is a cornerstone of both Islam and Christianity, but love of God is the foundation. Such love is expressed in many ways, but let's look at four: prayer, repentance, contentment, and surrender to God.
People desire to be with and talk with those they love. Thus, Christians and Muslims who love God "pray continually" (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and "remember Allah much" (Qur'an 33:21). Prayer is a cleansing activity, partially because engaging in it allows people to see God's greatness and their own unworthiness. Such understanding brings repentance, which is essential to receiving God's approval and forgiveness (Qur'an 20:82; Muslim 2:1142; Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:15; Luke 5:32; 15:7).
Through cycles of prayer, repentance, and forgiveness, the believers' love of God grows. This gradually results in a weakening of the desires for worldly things, the cause of discontent. Becoming content with what God has allotted them, they "give thanks in all circumstances" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), whether good or bad. Such believers are loved by people and by God, as one hadith says: "Desire not the world, and God will love you; and desire not what men have, and they will love you."
To be fully content means to be surrendered to Allah, a key concept in Islam. Indeed, the word "Islam" is understood to mean surrender, as it says in the Qur'an (3:19): "The religion before Allah is Islam." Christianity believes the same, for as Jesus said, the greatest commandment is to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" (Matthew 22:37). In other words, give your entire being to God.
Those who completely devote themselves to God are, naturally, are the closest to Him. Yet God is near all believers. Christians believe that God, in the form of the Holy Spirit, lives within them (1 Corinthians 6:19). For Islam, the indwelling concept is not prevalent, but God is nearer to the believer than his jugular veins (Qur'an 50:16) and says: "When my servants ask you about me, tell them I am near, I hear the prayer of the one who calls upon Me" (Qur'an 2:186).
Both Christianity and Islam teach that those who love God, believe in God, and do good deeds will receive rewards (Matthew 5:5-11, 6:1-6 10:41-42, 16:27, 1 Corinthians 3:14, 9:17, Ephesians 6:8, Qur'an 2:62, 3:144,145,148). The best reward, of course, is eternal life in Paradise.
Who gets this reward? In both religions, the answer is quite controversial. There are those who say that only adherents to of their own religion-whether Christianity or Islam-go to Heaven. Many Christians confidently assert that only those who believe in Jesus will have eternal life (John 3:18, 11:25-26), and many Muslims affirm just as strongly affirm that only those who believe in Allah and accept Muhammad as His Messenger will enter Paradise.
In both religions, however, others disagree. Some Christians claim that it is necessary only that one has to believe in God and try to do good (Matthew 7:21, 10:42, 25:31-46). Likewise, some Muslims who agree with this view cite the Qur'an (2:62): "Believers, Jews, Sabaeans, or Christians-whoever believes in God and the Last Day and does what is right-shall have nothing to fear or to regret."
Adherents to both religions concur, though, that eternal life is a gift of God and based completely upon His mercy (Romans 9:15-16, Qur'an 3:74, 10:99-100; Bukhari 7:577). Nevertheless, God does not reject anyone who comes to Him: "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you" (James 4:8), and "He who loves to meet Allah, Allah also loves to meet him. . ." (Muslim 2:1120).