Saturday, September 11, 2010

Honoring the Victims of September 11 by Blogging the Quran

In memory of those who lost their lives nine years ago today in an act of senseless violence, I feel like the best thing we can do is to witness to the hope we have in the face of evil and terror.

I've written in more detail about this previously, but I believe that if we allow hatred and fear to divide us, particularly hatred and fear of our Muslim neighbors, then the terrorists who hijacked those planes and turned them into missiles nine years ago win. Their message was loud and clear: "it's us or you. We can't live together, so one of us has to win and the other has to lose."

If, however, we refuse to accept the "us or them" argument and live in such a way that shows we can love our neighbor (something Jesus talked about repeatedly), no matter how different or strange that neighbor may be, the the men who killed thousands of people from all over the world on 9/11 will be proved wrong.

With the goal of defying the terrorists in mind, I attended Friday afternoon prayers at the Islamic Center of Clarksville yesterday. They were extraordinarily gracious in welcoming a Christian minister to pray with them and explaining how to participate in their prayers. Soon I'll post in more detail about my experience praying with my Muslim brothers, but for now I'll simply say that it was very uplifting and I look forward to getting to know them better.

I'm very encouraged by demonstrations of love like the Memphis area church that is actively building relationships with the new Islamic center next door.

At the urging of Andrew over at Tall Skinny Kiwi, I'm also participating in "Blog a Quran Day", sharing some verses from the Muslim's sacred text as a way of proclaiming that those who died in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania were not casualties of a war with winners and losers, but victims of murders who falsely believed that all of God's children cannot live together in peace. May they never be forgotten, and may our witness help end the conflict so tragedies like 9/11 will never happen again.

From Surah 10, verses 9 and 10 of the Quran (Sahih International Translation):

Indeed, those who have believed and done righteous deeds - their Lord will guide them because of their faith. Beneath them rivers will flow in the Gardens of Pleasure. Their call therein will be, "Exalted are You, O Allah ," and their greeting therein will be, "Peace." And the last of their call will be, "Praise to Allah , Lord of the worlds!"

(For those that are wondering, Allah is simply the Arabic word for "God". Arabic speaking Christians pray to Allah, just as Spanish speaking Christians pray to Dios, Germans to Gott, etc. Christians, Jews, and Muslims believe in the same God.)

With men and women of all faiths, I pray for peace to grow in the hearts of all of God's children this day.


peTer said...

i don't know if Allah is the same as Jahweh, but i do agree that it is possible for christians and moslims to live together in harmony and peace.
the terrorists win if we react in the same agression they do. and God commands us to love (even) our enemy's. what is unclear about that?


Donnie said...

Agreed with Peter. Christians believe in a triune God. The Trinity. Muslims do not. Still, we should love our neighbors and witness (in the spirit of love) to those who disagree with us.

Boyd Allen said...

I agree with peTer and Donnie; I very much appreciate the spirit of peace, unity, and even-handed open-mindedness that this blog represents.

And while the distinctions between Jahweh and Allah are not something that I'm particularly keen on calling attention to (especially in the current toxic environment), I DO have to gently object to the absolute equating of the two. Based on my limited understanding Allah should be considered an incomplete (and therefore heretical) version of the Triune Jahweh.

Again though, I deeply appreciate the spirit of peace and the eye towards reconciliation.