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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Instruments of Love and Harmony

From Zenit.org comes Final Statement of Catholic-Muslim Forum "Called to Be Instruments of Love and Harmony"
For background information about the meetings, see this Reuters article of 11/06/08. Click this link for A Common Word between Us and You, which precipitated the recent meetings. [Note the Events section, a recent addition to the page]. A Common Word's home page includes a summary, the missive, media reports, blog posts and various responses from Christian & Jewish leaders. Click this link: Islamic Extortion Letter for my original dissection of the missive or this link: Go Burn With Muhammad, a blog devoted to dissecting the missive and reactions to it.

The statement includes an enumerated list of fifteen points which present a target rich environment In this installment, I'll take on the first point of agreement.[Links & emphasis added.]

1. For Christians the source and example of love of God and neighbour is the love of Christ for his Father, for humanity and for each person. "God is Love" (1 Jn 4, 16) and "God so loved the world that He gave his only Son so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (Jn 3,16). God's love is placed in the human heart through the Holy Spirit.

It is God who first loves us thereby enabling us to love Him in return. Love does not harm one's neighbour but rather seeks to do to the other what one would want done to oneself (Cf. 1 Cor 13, 4-7). Love is the foundation and sum of all the commandments (Cf. Gal 5, 14).

Love of neighbour cannot be separated from love of God, because it is an expression of our love for God. This is the new commandment, "Love one another as I have loved you." (Jn 15, 12) Grounded in Christ's sacrificial love, Christian love is forgiving and excludes no one; it therefore also includes one's enemies. It should be not just words but deeds (Cf. 1 Jn, 4, 18). This is the sign of its genuineness.

For Muslims, as set out in "A Common Word," love is a timeless transcendent power which guides and transforms human mutual regard.

This love, as indicated by the Holy and Beloved Prophet Muhammad, is prior to the human love for the One True God. A Hadith indicates that God's loving compassion for humanity is even greater than that of a mother for her child (Muslim, Bab al-Tawba: 21); it therefore exists before and independently of the human response to the One who is 'The Loving.' So immense is this love and compassion that God has intervened to guide and save humanity in a perfect way many times and in many places, by sending prophets and scriptures. The last of these books, the Qur'an, portrays a world of signs, a marvellous cosmos of Divine artistry, which calls forth our utter love and devotion, so that 'those who have faith, have most love of God' (2:165), and 'those that believe, and do good works, the Merciful shall engender love among them.' (19:96) In a Hadith we read that 'Not one of you has faith until he loves for his neighbour what he loves for himself' (Bukhari, Bab al-Iman: 13).

Jehovah is love, right? How about Allah? Is love among his 99 named attributes? Jannah.org has a list, with explanations. A search turns up one hit.

# Al-Wadood

* The Loving, The One who loves His believing slaves and His believing slaves love Him. His love to His slaves is His Will to be merciful to them and praise them:Hence it's meaning is related to the attributes of the Will and Kalam (His attribute with which He orders and forbids and spoke to Muhammad and Musa -peace be upon them- . It is not a sound nor a language nor a letter.).

Who does the Qur'an describe Allah as loving?

* who do good deeds 2:110
* Al-Muhsinun (those who do good)
o 2:195
o 3:134
o 3:138
o 5:13
o 5:93
* the clean
o 2:222
o 9:108
* Al-Muttaqun (pious)
o 3:76
o 9:4
o 9:7
* As-Sabirin 3:146 (the patient)
* those who act justly. 5:42
* the equitable
o 49:9
o 60:8
* those who fight in rows 61:4
* who put their trust in him 3:159

A search for Allah loved had no hits in the Qur'an, one in Ibn Kathir's Tafsir. In How Those Who lived a Life of Luxury disbelieved in the Messengers and were misled by Their pursuit of Wealth and Children,[34:39] we learn that wealthy, prolific Kaffirun are being set up for eternal damnation. Allah has no plan of salvation for them.

(but those who were given the worldly wealth and luxuries among them) means, those who enjoyed a life of riches and luxury, and positions of leadership. Qatadah said, "They are their tyrants, chiefs and leaders in evil.'' (We believe not in the (Message) with which you have been sent.) means, `we do not believe in it and we will not follow it.' Allah tells us that those who enjoyed a life of luxury and who disbelieved the Messengers said: (And they say: "We are more in wealth and in children, and we are not going to be punished.'') meaning, they were proud of their great wealth and great numbers of children, and they believed that this was a sign that Allah loved them and cared for them, and that if He gave them this in this world, He would not punish them in the Hereafter. This was too far-fetched. Allah says: (Do they think that in wealth and children with which We enlarge them We hasten unto them with good things. Nay, but they perceive not.) (23:55-56) (So, let not their wealth nor their children amaze you; in reality Allah's plan is to punish them with these things in the life of this world, and that their souls shall depart while they are disbelievers.) (9:55)

Who are Al-Muhsinun, who do good (beloved of Allah)? What do they do?

* avoid usury 3:130
* fear Hell 3:131
* obey Allah & his Messenger 3:132
* march forth 3:133
* 3:134
o spend in Allah's cause
+ charity
o repress anger
o pardon men
* ask forgiveness for sin 3:135

One of these terms arouses suspicion; lets take a closer look at it.

* 9:38. O you who believe! What is the matter with you, that when you are asked to march forth in the Cause of Allah (i.e. Jihad) you cling heavily to the earth? Are you pleased with the life of this world rather than the Hereafter? But little is the enjoyment of the life of this world as compared with the Hereafter.
* 9:41. March forth, whether you are light (being healthy, young and wealthy) or heavy (being ill, old and poor), strive hard with your wealth and your lives in the Cause of Allah. This is better for you, if you but knew.

Could this be related to those who fight in rows? Lets look a little deeper into Surah As-Saff and see.

* 61:9. He it is Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad ) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islamic Monotheism) to make it victorious over all (other) religions even though the Mushrikun (polytheists, pagans, idolaters, and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah and in His Messenger Muhammed ) hate (it).

61:10. O You who believe! Shall I guide you to a commerce that will save you from a painful torment.

61:11. That you believe in Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad ), and that you strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allah with your wealth and your lives, that will be better for you, if you but know!

61:12. (If you do so) He will forgive you your sins, and admit you into Gardens under which rivers flow, and pleasant dwelling in Gardens of 'Adn ­ Eternity ['Adn (Edn) Paradise], that is indeed the great success.

61:13. And also (He will give you) another (blessing) which you love, help from Allah (against your enemies) and a near victory. And give glad tidings (O Muhammad ) to the believers.



Who are the ­Muttaqun, loved by Allah?

* 2:177. It is not Al-Birr (piety, righteousness, and each and every act of obedience to Allah, etc.) that you turn your faces towards east and (or) west (in prayers); but Al-Birr is (the quality of) the one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the Angels, the Book, the Prophets and gives his wealth, in spite of love for it, to the kinsfolk, to the orphans, and to Al-Masakin (the poor), and to the wayfarer, and to those who ask, and to set slaves free, performs As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), and gives the Zakat, and who fulfill their covenant when they make it, and who are As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.) in extreme poverty and ailment (disease) and at the time of fighting (during the battles). Such are the people of the truth and they are Al­Muttaqun (pious - see V.2:2).
o believes
o gives
o fulfill contracts
o patient
+ in poverty
+ in disease
+ in fighting

Allah loves those who are patient in fighting, who march forth & fight in his cause with their wealth and their lives; who fight in ranks. Allah also loves those who obey him and his Messenger. Did Allah command them to fight?

* 9:29. Fight against those who (1) believe not in Allah, (2) nor in the Last Day, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger (4) and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

If Allah loves Jews, Christians, Sabeans, Samaritans & Zoroastrians, why does he command his slaves to make war on them until they are all subjugated and make annual extortion payments? Could it be that Allah does not love sinners, that he hates them or is, at best indifferent towards them?

* The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Allah, the Blessed, the Exalted, created Adam. Then He stroked his back with His right hand, and progeny issued from it. He said, "I created these for the Garden and they will act with the behaviour of the people of the Garden." Then He stroked his back again and brought forth progeny from him. He said, "I created these for the Fire and they will act with the behaviour of the people of the Fire." 'A man said, 'Messenger of Allah! Then of what value are deeds?' The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, answered, 'When Allah creates a slave for the Garden, he makes him use the behaviour of the people of the Garden, so that he dies on one of the actions of the people of the Garden and by it He brings him into the Garden. When He creates a slave for the Fire, He makes him use the behaviour of the people of the Fire, so that he dies on one of the actions of the people of the Fire, and by it, He brings him into the Fire.' "[Malik's Muwatta Book 46, Number 46.1.2]

Now we learn that its a matter of predestination. One group created for Paradise, the other for the fire; each to behave with the conduct of those of their purpose. Could this perhaps be racially linked?

* Allah tells us that on the Day of Resurrection, some faces will be blackened and some will be whitened. The faces of those who followed splits and divisions will be blackened, and the faces of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah will be whitened. Allah says here: (And on the Day of Resurrection you will see those who lied against Allah) meaning, by their claims that He had partners or offspring. (their faces will be black.) means, because of their lies and fabrications. [The Consequences for Those Who tell Lies against Allah and for Those Who have Taqwa]

*

Bukhari Volume 1, Book 2, Number 21:

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:

The Prophet said, "When the people of Paradise will enter Paradise and the people of Hell will go to Hell, Allah will order those who have had faith equal to the weight of a grain of mustard seed to be taken out from Hell. So they will be taken out but (by then) they will be blackened (charred). Then they will be put in the river of Haya' (rain) or Hayat (life) (the Narrator is in doubt as to which is the right term), and they will revive like a grain that grows near the bank of a flood channel. Don't you see that it comes out yellow and twisted"