The blog today has been written by my colleague in the London Committee on Publication Office, Philip Wylie.
The meeting was held at a mosque in London, immediately before the breaking of the fast following Ramadan. Before the celebration we had a prayer in Arabic given by our host, followed by an English translation of it by a young woman who is a primary school teacher. The teacher/translator went on to say what Ramadan meant to her and how it broadened her relationship with God – as a time of reflection and spiritual renewal. She was almost sad that the time had come to an end, but said she would endeavour to carry forward her spiritual insights throughout the coming year to enrich her experience of Ramadan in 2011.
Her words made me think deeply and humbly about my own devotions and the amount of time I spend on them on a daily basis. It was very sobering overall and a reminder to all of us that profess to be Christians of the saying, “people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”
Philip’s comments inspired me to pose a question on Facebook: “How about if all of us who call ourselves Christian share a thought, idea or inspiration we have gained from dialogue with our Muslim neighbours?”
Here are some of the replies:
“I served on an interfaith panel this past spring with a Muslim woman, and as we talked afterwards she said it occurred to her that forums like this were so vitally important, because we could never understand our neighbors without first understanding what our neighbors believe.”
“In October, 2001, I was at an international book fair. A NY distributor, a Muslim, explained that sales of the Qu’ran had skyrocketed. We talked in full agreement that there is one God and that there is a great need for understanding and love. He gifted me a Qu’ran and I gifted him a copy of Science and Health.”
“I don’t know any Muslims intimately but I once had a Muslim cab driver that I always drove with to my job at a Christian Science nursing facility in California. We were mutually interested in each other’s thoughts and practices. He really resonated with what I shared about Christian Science and loved how engaged and inspired I was with it and I was really moved by his practice and devotion and the sense of peace and kindness and humility he expressed…he had a deep sense of respect and reverence for all things…As far as I can see, the 9/11 attacks represent Islam as little as an American preacher burning Qu’rans represents Christianity.”
“On a flight to Turkey last year, I left my seat to stand in line for the rest room. A young Muslim woman in a head scarf was ahead of me, but when the facilities became available, she insisted I go ahead of her, and I learned my first lesson in Islamic hospitality. Later on the same flight, we had to fill out custom forms, and she didn’t have a pen. How naturally she came to me and my husband and asked if she could borrow ours. We were so glad to be able to return a favor – “Love is reflected in love“, as another loving, international-thinking woman, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote.”
“A Muslim, that I treated in my Christian Science practice, told me that she had been praying “the 99 names for God.” In order to help her, I looked them up on the internet. I asked her to see that we don’t merely memorise them, but to express all of God’s qualities. People of other faiths, or no faith, could benefit from reviewing the “99 names” and discovering how many of them they are expressing, and how much we and the Muslims have in common.”
And one friend shared an article she has had published on this very topic, called A World Without Borders:
PLEASE ADD SIMILAR ENCOUNTERS OF YOUR OWN IN THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW!
From the Bible: “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?” (Malachi 2:10)
From “The New Century” by Mary Baker Eddy: ‘Tis writ on earth, on leaf and flower: Love hath one race, one realm, one power.”