20 February 2016

Reaching Across Perceived Barriers

This was a private response to two gentlemen who identify with the Sufi Order of the Muslim religion.

One is the assistant, and the other man is an author and speaker to whom this message was addressed.

I heard the author on the radio one morning and thought about contacting him to ask a few questions regarding his particular doctrine and worldview.

My question was regarding peace, force, defense and whether he believed as the Christ taught in staying at peace before all situations, for he mentioned such concepts on the radio.

In a previous correspondence, I pointed to the lack of evidence showing Christ to support or teach violence or self-defense.

The author responded with the event in the temple when Christ ran the money changers and animals out.

The following was my response to that example that is believed to show 'force'.

This response has, to-date, gone unanswered:

My intention in contacting you is not to begin a divisive argument between our points of view.

Our faith in the One and Only Almighty and Eternal God should be a unifying factor, so I hope you read my words in the light of my desire to find a mutual understanding firstly, and secondly to clarify some possible misunderstandings in our respective faiths despite the interpretations and doctrines of men regarding the faith in God.

I believe human beings have more in common when they view each other as human beings, and not according to their identities, or nationality, or ethnic background or religious differences.

To respond to the event in the temple; whether Jesus actually whipped people as it says the animals, is up to speculation perhaps.

If one would suppose Jesus whipped the people, we should also then consider Jesus didn't use or call for the use of a physical sword.

He did not call for what the law required: death for causing God's Holy Name to be profaned (Leviticus 22: 1-2 / Leviticus 24: 16 / Leviticus 26: 2).

Jesus didn't ask the disciples to also act, although "zeal for your house will consume me" (Psalm 69: 9), like Phineas son of Eleazar did in his zeal for God's honor (Numbers 25: 6-13) by drawing the sword and striking sinners down.

Neither is there record in the Talmud, the Gospels, the letters nor secular sources of Christ doing anything further.

Christ didn't respond with lawful judgment nor use of the sword, other than speaking the sword coming forth from the mouth (Ephesians 6: 17).

He responded with mercy (as mentioned in Maryam 19:21) and grace (1 Timothy 1: 13-14), with warning and with the fulfillment of prophecy.
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 
- John 1: 17
Jesus' actions in this event allows for further consideration of the nature and manner Jesus acted and to my reason for reaching out to you, my dear Ibrahim.

A question I'd like to now ask you is;

If Jesus is believed to be a prophet by those identifying with Islam, should Jesus' example and teaching be considered and obeyed?

This question leads into the heart of what I desire to mention:

The absence of physical response on the part of Jesus' disciples in defending themselves during and after Jesus' ministry.

Both primary and secular sources show no self defense, and no force on the part of the disciples in the effort to spread the Gospel message, for three centuries after Jesus... instead they were killed, persecuted, and we don't see or read evidence of their physical efforts in self defense (what men would consider to be a right or a just and justifiable response).

Regarding the incident when Peter used a sword in the Garden of Gethsemane; was not Peter immediately chastised by Jesus for doing so and another teaching / warning was mentioned?
In that account, we read of another prophecy being fulfilled ("he was counted among the transgressors" - Isaiah 53: 12 / Luke 22: 37).

I mention this in case this event would be mentioned.

It looks to me that certain men in the 4th century church hierarchy began to exposit the desires of politics and the state's influence when the Roman state adopted the faith and began to forward a religion.

It is in the 4th century we can read about dubious doctrines which brought into disrepute the teaching of peace and love I am conveying.

This man writing to you rejects and condemns such doctrines of men which have brought contempt onto the teaching of righteousness that has been revealed, the same one which you can read for yourself.

I believe God is fully capable of bringing justice on the wicked and protection onto those He looks over without me thinking I have the right, despite my zeal for God, to get my hands dirty, and so dishonor my God (what the entirety of Matthew 5 speaks about).

I share this sentiment not as a boast, but in faithfulness to what I read in the Gospel's message; the brotherhood of mankind being brought into the kingdom of heaven Jesus preached.

It is this reality I'd like to bring to your attention, and ask:

Is there room in your personal view and interpretation of Islam, or is there any evidence of men who align themselves within the Islamic / Muslim identity, of having expressed the same attributes of restraint of self defense / force and instead faith in God's judgment?

Is there, within any Islamic school of thought, the teaching to resolve the carnal and logical desire of self defense and protection from harm into the hands of God / Allah alone, as Jesus taught and the early disciples exemplified?

The message of peace and love, for even those considered 'enemies,' is found in the following citations:

Matthew 5: 38-48

Ephesians 6: 10-17

Romans 12: 1-2

Romans 12: 17-21

Peace be with you!

May blessings follow you and may our God's grace and mercy hold you forevermore!

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