University of Saint Mary of the Lake / Mundelein, Illinois
After living in Bethlehem for almost four weeks and making some friends from the University of Bethlehem, some of them Muslims and some of them Christians, I realized that all the ideas I had about the Islamic Religion and the Muslims were only theeffect of the negative propaganda I had received during the last ten years. I had an image of Muslin people as aggressive, rude, and dangerous, without hesitating to kill somebody in order to expand their religion. However, after living in Bethlehem for these weeks I concluded that Muslins are similar to Christians. There are good and bad muslins as there are good and bad Christians.
I realizedthat, having respect for each other, Christians and Muslims could live together and carry out a friendly dialogue. I recognized that the inter-religious dialogue is liberating, because it forces us to abandon all kinds of sectarianism. It makes us perceive the believers of other religions as human beings and not as an abstraction of their religions. I used to believe: “Muslims”, “Christians”, and“Jews”. I thought all the Muslims, Christians, and Jews were homogenous among themselves, yet different from the others; or that all of them would have the same ideas or would respond to a predetermined pattern of behavior.
After listening to the exposition about the Quran by Fr. Peter Dubrul, and talking about their religion with some muslin friends I made in the University of Bethlehem, Irealized that the Islamic religion (even in its most radical and fundamentalist branches) using the teachings of the Quran has ground to accept religious pluralism, and offers countless keys for a positive approach to inter-religious dialogue.
These are the keys that I would use as a doctrinal basis to defend the Muslim possibility for an inter-religious dialogue, and the similarities it has withChristianism and Judaism.
1) The Quran affirms that all the revealed religions are legitimate ways of salvation:
Lo! Those who believe (in that which is revealed unto thee, Muhammad), and those who are Jews, and Christians, and Sabaeans - whoever believeth in Allah and the Last Day and doeth right - surely their reward is with their Lord, and there shall no fear come upon them neithershall they grieve. (Quran 2, 62)
2) The plurality of ways of adoration is something wanted by Al-lah.
Unto each nation have we given (different) sacred rites, which they are to perform; so let them not dispute with thee of the matter, but summon thou unto thy Lord. Lo! Thou indeed followest right guidance. (Quran 22:66)
3) All these ways of adoration have their origin insuccessive revelations, coming from the same God.
And verily we have raised in every nation a messenger, (proclaiming): Serve Allah and shun false gods. (Quran 16:36)
4) The Quran affirms that all the prophets have the same range or grade under the eyes of Al-lah, exhorting the Muslims not to make distinctions among them and to believe in all revealed traditions.
Say(O Muhammad): We believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto us and that which was revealed unto Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and that which was vouchsafed unto Moses, Jesus, and the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him, we have surrendered. (Quran 3:84)
5) Among all the revealed books the Muslins must believe in,the Quran explicitly cites the Torah and the Gospels. In 3:3-4, we find: “He hath revealed unto thee (Muhammad) the Scripture with truth, confirming that which was (revealed) before it, even as He revealed the Torah and the Gospel. Aforetime, for a guidance to mankind; and hath revealed the Criterion of right and wrong.”
6) From a Quranic point of view, all the revealed books contain...