In a time of turmoil and constant reminders of those who spread fear and divisiveness regarding Islam, it was refreshing to see Dr. Larycia Hawkins’ comment express unity for her Muslim brethren. Sadly her statement seemed to cause an uproar for Wheaton College and ultimately led to Dr. Hawkins suspension. Despite Wheaton College’s 2007 interfaith document A Common Word Between Us and You, agreeing that Islam and Christianity can be at peace with each other, the notion of Christians and Muslims worshipping the same God seems exempt from that doctrine. Wheaton College’s choice to suspend Dr. Hawkins indicates a lack of the simple understanding that the teachings of Islam are rooted in the same Abrahamic faith shared by Jews and Christians. Clearly, Wheaton College requires a reminder that the mutual respect for Abraham and his teachings unite Muslims and Christians in their belief of the same God.
The rituals and Holy Scriptures vary in the manner of worship, but the essence of revering the God of Abraham remains the common theme shared between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. And while each faith may use different terminology to describe God, all are indeed worshipping the same God. Prophet Abraham teaching of the oneness of God is central to all three faiths and is the essence of their unification. Islam's inclusion of the Torah, Gospel, and Psalm add to the connection in belief in the same God of Abraham. Further correlations are found in the teachings of Jesus who taught that there is only One God, and Only God should be worshipped as taught in Deut 6:4, and Mark 12:29. Muslims also uphold that there is no God but God as taught in the Qur’an verse 4:172. The same God, who taught Jesus not to eat pork, to greet each other with peace, to wash his face, hands, and feet before prayer and to pray with his head to the ground, also taught Prophet Muhammad and his followers the same.
Muslims are reminded in the Holy Quran in Chapter 29 verse “And argue not with the People of the Book…And say, ‘We believe in that which has been revealed to us and that which has been revealed to you: and our God and your God is One, and to Him we submit.’ Islamic belief insists that Prophet Muhammad did not bring a new religion from God, but the same faith practiced by Prophets Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, Jesus, and all other prophets of God as noted in the Quran Chapter 3 verse 85 and Chapter 2 verse 286. Jesus likewise believed in all the prophets as noted in Matthew 5:17. Additionally, a requirement during the five daily prayers is the recitation of the prayer titled Durood Sharif, which acknowledges Prophet Abraham and the blessings he and his followers received further cementing Muslims ties to the People of the Book. Since Jesus spoke Aramaic, he referred to God as “Elah” which is derived from the Arabic word for God “Allah”, indicating that the God of Jesus is the same God of Muslims. As a result, history has noted that Christians for centuries worshipped God under the name of "Allah".
I think this letter deserves to be read again, at this time. A Common Word between Us and You https://t.co/rHXGuSKute
— helen pringle (@helenpringle) December 4, 2015
Annually Muslims celebrate the pilgrimage honoring Prophet Abraham and conclude with the Muslim holiday the Eid of Sacrifice. His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the Khalifa of Islam, during his global sermons, reminds millions of Muslims worldwide on Eid of the willingness of sacrifice for the love of God that Prophet Abraham made. His Holiness reminds Muslims of the one God who is the Creator of the Universe is indeed the same God worshipped by Prophet Abraham. The Khalifa of Islam further states, “I believe in that One God who is the Lord of all nations, all races, and all religions, and so it becomes impossible that I could ever develop any hatred in my heart for any nation, any race or any religion.” (Key to Los Angeles Presentation, USA, 11 May 2013).
While numerous similarities exist between the two faiths, the statement of His Holiness the Khalifa of Islam Mirza Masroor Ahmad and Pope Francis uniting us should be recognized by Wheaton College. During a time where the unity of humanity is sorely needed, it is important that institutions of higher learning do their part to impart upon their students that our common beliefs, values and morals all stem from the same Supreme Being regardless of how we chose to practice this belief. In our pursuit of the same God let us not forget mutual love, respect, and tolerance for that endeavor.
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