Let Muslims, Christians unite behind Jesus’ mission

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Let Muslims, Christians unite behind Jesus’ mission

By Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi

SOURCE:  The Detroit News http://www.detnews.com/2004/editorial/0412/18/D08-36215.htm

“Behold! The angels said: ‘O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a word From Him; his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honor in This world and the hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah.’ ”—The Holy Koran 3:45

During this blessed season, I would like to say “happy birthday” to our beloved Jesus and congratulate the communities of faith on this beautiful occasion.

The blessed baby of Nazareth is loved and honored throughout Islam. The Koran teaches Muslims to recognize Jesus as a sign from God and a manifestation of His love and beauty. Jesus was sent to the children of Israel as a great teacher of wisdom, a messenger of peace and justice for humanity.

Faith in Jesus occupies a big part of our Islamic faith system.

Jesus’ humble heart, compassion, forgiveness, and his love and charity for the hungry, homeless and suffering are mentioned over and over in Islamic traditions.

Most Christians are unaware that Jesus is mentioned nearly 100 times in the Holy Koran. He is referred to as the Spirit of God, Word of God, a sign of God for humanity, Messiah, the only man after Adam who came to this world without a father, the man who as a baby spoke in the cradle, the one who cured the blind, cured the leper, raised the dead. Jesus’ pious mother was chosen by God as an example for all believing women until the Day of Judgment.

The Koranic Jesus is a perfect man with undeniable miraculous dimensions. He is an ambassador of the Divine who came to move humanity from the darkness of materialism and individualism to the light of love, selflessness and sacrifice.

He taught his disciples that too much love for the world was the source of all evil and aggression. In his nonstop, nonviolent struggle against the arrogant, Jesus never compromised his principles.

Jesus became the target of suffering during his earthly life. Jesus’ disappearance from this world was not the end of the injustice against him. A group of people treated him worse than he deserved, and another group claimed and attributed things about him that he never claimed. Those who speak in his name, but don’t promote his message of peace, love and compassion, also oppress Jesus and suppress God’s message through him.

Jesus, aware of human weakness, knew that his teachings would be attacked and distorted. This is why, according to the Koran, Jesus promised the coming of another divine messenger who would confirm the original Gospel.

“And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said O Children of Israel! I am the messenger of God sent to you confirming the Law which came before me and giving Glad Tidings of a Messenger to come after me whose name shall be Ahmad the Praised one (Periclytos).”

There are some noticeable theological differences between Muslims and Christians, and it’s O.K. to address them at the right times and places. Yet what may unite Muslims and Christians is much more than what divides them. In reality, there is no essential difference between the religion of Moses, Jesus and Mohammed.

In his short life on this earth, Jesus did every thing possible to end war, violence and oppression by promoting a culture of compassion and justice. It is about the time for Muslims and Christians to unite and liberate the mission of Jesus and stop the greedy politicians from their crusade of future world wars in Jesus name.

In the name of Jesus’ mission, let us together find ways for the whole human family to live in peace and enjoy their lives free from fear, pain, prejudice and inequality. On the celebration of Jesus’ birth, this beloved teacher of humankind, who lived an infallible life of piety, humility, suffering and sacrifice, we in the Muslim community express our love to this blessed baby and Messiah, and open our hearts to the Christian community and say “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” to you all.

“So Peace is on me the day I was born, the Day that I die, and the Day that I shall be raised up to life again,” says the Koran.

Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi heads the Islamic House of Worship in Dearborn Heights, where there will be a noon celebration of Jesus’ birth on Dec. 25. Send letters to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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see also Through the Eyes of Islam http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/perspective/chi-0412190205dec19,1,7457298.story?coll=chi-newsopinionperspective-hed


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