Christian-Muslim-Jew ish friendship thread

(209 Posts)
niminypiminy Mon 10-Jun-13 11:17:08

I've had a talk with Crescentmoon about starting a thread where Christians and Muslims can hold out our hands in friendship to one another. I feel like we have so much to offer one another, and I certainly would love to learn more about Islam, and to understand the ways in which my Muslim sisters live out their faith. Would anybody else like to join?

I'm niminypiminy, and I'm a member of the Church of England, and work, and have two children. I realise that I'd don't even know if there is an equivalent in Islam for the different denominations (aside from Sunni and Shia, which I'm not at all confident I correctly understand the difference between). I'm going to be offline for a couple of days, so can't get back to reply, but if anybody would like to use this thread to come together as Christians trying to live out our faith, and to prayerfully and open-heartedly welcome and understand each other... smile

niminypiminy Fri 29-Aug-14 09:49:37

Sorry to have been so quiet, I've been away for a couple of weeks.

While I was away I was privileged to be able to visit a mosque during prayer time and to witness prayers there. It was a really powerful experience which made a great impact on me. I think the main thing that I felt was the presence of God, but also how much as Christians we have to learn from the way that Muslims worship -- standing shoulder to shoulder, old and young, using their bodies as well as words.

I was also lucky enough to have some time asking questions of and talking with a female Muslim chaplain, who was just brilliant -- one of those people whose holiness just shines from them like an inner light, not in a holier than thou kind of way, more as in her whole life was clearly centred in God and she obviously walked in complete freedom of self-surrender. And she was very engaging and funny! It was wonderful smile!

crescentmoon Thu 31-Jul-14 01:56:08

im not into urban music but a family member who is into rap introduced me to two songs awhile ago that i thought were very interesting. has anyone heard of 'Jesus Walks' by Kanye West? or the muslim version Muhammad Walks by Lupe Fiasco? iv linked the lyrics version of both, but you can read them in full here and here. listening to them i think in a simple way they show alot of insight into the goals of christianity and islam. i like Lupe Fiascos as it namechecks alot of the Prophets important to Muslims, but something about the 'Jesus Walks' one sets my feet to move its very good. wonder what you all think.

crescentmoon Thu 31-Jul-14 01:29:50

so true dear tuo, and this thread of niminys might reach many more than we all meet alone. i watched this video linked by another poster on another thread: This Land is Mine. and it shows the millenia of conflicts in the fertile crescent ending by showing nuclear war, and i felt fearful. then I thought for the sake of the children of man, the children of Adam, we should all prosecute for peace, not war. to spite the devil who hates each and every one of us.

Tuo Wed 30-Jul-14 00:30:31

Thank you, crescentmoon. I was lucky enough to visit Jerusalem a year or so ago, and was incredibly moved by the experience. I have just re-read something that I wrote then. I said that 'oneness and multiplicity define this place � define it, and divide it, and hold it together in a peace so fragile it feels like a holding of breath', and I am crying now because it feels as if even that most fragile of peaces has been shattered. But if we love our neighbours, as you suggest, then we cannot give up on peace; and if we are powerless to bring peace to our fractured world, then we can try to bring it in a tiny but perhaps not insignificant way to those around us and to those we can reach.

crescentmoon Tue 29-Jul-14 11:47:08

thanks so much niminy and tuo, Eid mubarak to everyone too. tuo iv read a few of your prayers for peace in the ME on the christian prayer thread - always so measured and hopeful. very true to say its so important now as always to hold out our hands to each other. il speak from the heart that when i realise how conflicting it is to separate judaism from zionism, and even the zionism that wants to raze gaza and the west bank from the zionism that doesnt see the occupied territories as belonging to israel. when i realise how it shouldnt be a conflict within but it can be, i realise that christians seeing the persecution of their coeligionists at the hands of muslim extremists in ME might go through something similar.
as a muslim it shames me that whilst islam the religion itself has alot of checks and inhibitions against destructive behaviour against others and even within oneself that muslims do such acts as ISIS in iraq right now. big muslim clerics have spoken out against their persecution of christians in mosul and made statements repudiating it,

including the 54 member Organisation of Islamic Countries.such demagogues of all stripes try to use religion as a way to further their own political agenda and take advantage of that feeling of anger and powerlessness to turn it to murderous rage. thats when its the most important to stand firm against that, say not in my name, because at the heart of our three faiths is the maintenance of hope and compassion for humanity. Jesus (pbuh) taught to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” The Torah says, “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow.” Muhammad (pbuh) said “None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.”

livelablove Tue 29-Jul-14 09:16:44

Eid Mubarak to all. If anyone doesn't know there is a chapter in Nigella Lawson's cookery book Feast devoted to Eid. Nigella is Jewish (not an observant Jew though) and the recipes come from a friend of hers so it reminded me of this thread. I do think food is something that can draw us together, as we all enjoy it.

Tuo Tue 29-Jul-14 01:07:14

Eid Mubarak to all the lovely muslim ladies on here.

Praying today for peace and friendship across political and religious divides, in the Middle East in particular. Sometimes, in the face of the truly terrible suffering we see on the news every day, it is hard not to feel powerless and overwhelmed; but I am holding out my hands right now to all who visit this thread - Jewish, Muslim, or Christian - in a small gesture of hope and and friendship, and it's good to know that there are others out there doing the same.

niminypiminy Mon 28-Jul-14 13:48:50

Eid Mubarak to all! Hope (if you are celebrating today) that it is joyous!

Still pondering your post on struggle, crescentmoon but perhaps today's not the day (also am about to rush off). Have pm'ed you anyway.

Just wanted to add, crescent that the apostle Paul also did much to spread Christianity, sorry, can't go into detail now, but hope to get back to it soon - or over to somebody else to explain how/when Paul did this?

niminypiminy Sat 19-Jul-14 13:52:43

Dear crescentmoon thank you for holding onto this thread.

Now more than ever, you are so right, is the time for us to listen and learn from one another. Now is the time, more than ever, for us to walk towards each other with open hands.

On phone so can't reply to your post in full but will read it carefully later, just want to say thanks and send love now.

crescentmoon Sat 19-Jul-14 13:38:42

(i realised it would be letting the atheist media win the narrative that jews and muslims are enemies to give up on this thread just when the israel/palestine issue comes into the news. iv been reading lots of affirmations of friendship between jewish and muslim communities in many parts of the world during this time of strife in the ME and i thought that i should add to that.)

on the concept of struggle i mentioned in Islam, the muslim ascetic Jallalludden Ar Rumi wrote about it in relation to Jesus (pbuh) son of Mary.

"""It is pain that guides a man in every enterprise. Until there is an ache within him, a passion and a yearning for that thing arising within him, he will never strive to attain it. Without pain that thing remains for him unprocurable, whether it be success in this world or salvation in the next, whether he aims at being a merchant or a king, a scientist or an astronomer. it was not until the pains of parturition manifested in her that Mary made for the tree:

‘And the birthpangs surprised her by the trunk of the palm-tree’ (Quran 19:23)

Those pangs brought her to the tree, and the tree which was withered became fruitful.

The body is like Mary. Every one of us has a Jesus within him, but until the pangs manifest in us our Jesus is not born. If the pangs never come, then Jesus rejoins his origin by the same secret path by which he came, leaving us bereft and without portion of him.

‘The soul within you is needy, the flesh without is well fed:
The devil gorges to spewing, Jamshid lacks even for bread.
See now to the cure of your soul while Jesus is yet on earth;
When Jesus returns to heaven all hope of your cure will have fled’""""

Taken from Mawlana Rumi's 'Fihi Ma Fihi', translated as 'Discourses' by A J Arberry

crescentmoon Sat 19-Jul-14 13:18:22

i find the more i learn about the history of monotheism in the ME the more it is inspiring also. when i consider that judaism is 5000 years old and the large civilisations and cultures that were present around the early hebrews at the time. i consider who would have expected then that the religion of those minority people would have remained thousands of years later and spread, and that the religions of the Babylonians, Ancient Egyptians, all the other advanced cultures of the Near East - those who were threatened by the new monotheism - would have largely fallen by the way. would the kings of Babylon or Pharoah looking at Moses (pbuh) and his people have thought those people they conquered and had made slaves would still be carrying on with their religion thousands of years later?
we have this thing in Islam and i think it is similar in Judaism and Christianity, that humans, as individuals and as societies, advance by struggle.

(and its not so different from the mentality that made Capitalism win over Communism based on human nature needing struggle).

and i think on it considering how many trials and tribulations the early prophets went through against the more powerfully armed empires around them - the Quran refers to them as the peoples more powerful who walked in the land before us and then also 'what do you see of them now'? i think being centred around at that time ultimately made their religion resilient. so that when Abrahamic monotheism established itself it was because that was where the most advanced civilisations were and where they were made to test their mettle. the Jews didnt spread the faith (?) but surviving through those times, i didnt know about the raizing of the temple, was success enough.

so that by the time Jesus (pbuh) came 3000 odd years later, sure it was a small backwater of Palestine but Roman administered and controlled. it wasnt just that the geography of the ME lent the religion to spread by trade and contact between the three continents Asia/Africa and Europe. but also by conquest of the ME monotheism spread onwards. though the Chirstians were lowly peoples in the roman empire and the gods of Rome were more worshipped once the conqueror converted to Christianity they took monotheism westward to Europe. then later when the muslims were invaded by the Mongol hordes, the conqueror took the religion of the conquered and that they took monotheism through into asia when 3 of the 4 ilkhanates became muslim.

i used to consider the geography of the ME when i would think about the Hajj - the pilgrimage to makkah - and how the land routes to africa, asia and europe and 3 sea routes (the Mediterranean, the Red Sea and the Indian ocean) brought and still bring pilgrims from much of the world towards the ME. but then i started to think further back and the histories and experiences of the earlier abrahamic faiths and prophets and realised how the story we are told of it in the mainstream needs reevaluating.

niminy I adore that psalm, it's so moving! I'm really into music, so love it when song lyrics quote the Bible. I think it was The Melodians who first recorded "By The Rivers of Babylon", though of course Boney M took it to number 1 in the charts.

niminypiminy Fri 11-Jul-14 10:35:27

Re date of the Torah, most scholars think is was composed during the exile in Babylon, so 6th century BCE (before common era).

The more I think about this the more inspiring I find it. After Jerusalem was captured by the Babylonians, the Temple was razed and completely destroyed, and the entire ruling class and anybody who had any skills or wealth was deported to Babylon, leaving a completely impoverished and broken people behind.

The exiles had lost everything -- they'd lost their land, their history, they'd lost the place on earth where they believed that God dwelled. In Psalm 137 we hear their lament: 'By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept/ when we remembered Zion.' And they asked 'How shall we sing the Lord's song/ in a strange land?' -- how could they worship JHWH when they were so far from the land he had led them to, and when his temple had been destroyed?

What they did was amazing. They'd brought with them all the scrolls of writings from the Temple, and as they settled in their exile, their scholars and scribes reshaped all the fragments of writing, the records of the law, the stories and songs and prayers, the sacred history and the records of the kings, into one account of God's relationship with his covenant people. They might not have the temple, but they found a way to meet him through transforming these writings into the Torah.

And when they finally went back to Jerusalem, they took the Torah with them. They rebuilt the Temple, and celebrated the Passover. One of the great moments of the return is when Ezra reads the Law to the people assembled outside the temple (Nehemiah 8), and the people wept (8.10) -- for joy, for relief at being at last back in their own place, with their own God -- and perhaps too in grief at the suffering of the years of exile.

I think it's really inspiring that at the point where they thought they had lost everything the Israelites found a new way of meeting God in scripture, and they turned their suffering in exile into the foundation of a new relationship with God.

ilovemonstersInc Fri 11-Jul-14 10:05:42

I've come on just to say this a lovely idea and well done to all who have contributed flowers

Im Muslim and my motto is treat everyone like you want to be treated we are all human at the end of the day andthe world wwould be a nicer if place if there were more people in rl like the ones on this wonderful thread x x x x

MrsSquirrel Fri 11-Jul-14 10:01:39

Hi cresentmoon

The Talmud itself is a standardised thing, but is not the only Torah commentary. Does that make sense?

I don't know how old the Torah is, but the Talmud is much newer. As Sam said, the Talmud was originally an oral tradition which was eventually written down. I believe it was compiled between the 1st and 5th centuries.

There are many other Torah commentaries by different scholars that have been written since then. And people still write commentaries now. One person could never read them all.

crescentmoon Thu 10-Jul-14 23:39:50

(Forgive me please for the typos!)

crescentmoon Thu 10-Jul-14 23:38:53

Ahh mrssquirrel and samg id written a long post asking questions about the Torah and the Talmud but iv lost it! But I'm so glad to see you here on this thread and look forward to learning more from you both!
Ok here's a quick one, is there one standardised Torah commentary eg one Talmud? And how old is the Talmud compared to the Torah? Or do you have different commentaries by different scholars as we have tafsirs (quranic commentary) in Islam. Would be interesting
cheapskate really found that passage from Matthew so similar to a saying in our religion il dig it up. il look it up in abotZ and the other from James chapter 3 madhairday I remember stressed put up last year.

Cetti Thu 10-Jul-14 21:45:26

I love this thread. I've learned so much I need to go back and make some notes! I'm a Catholic mother of 3 DS and an ex-atheist. If any of you have any questions about what Catholics believe, or do then please ask and I will do my best to help.

SamG76 Wed 09-Jul-14 18:03:17

cheapskatemum - As Mrs Squirrel says, the talmud is a compendium of the oral law, which is collection of stories and laws. You wouldn't often read out the talmud in public, though you might study it. Most of it is in aramaic, whereas the torah is Hebrew.

That's really interesting, MrsS smile in RL my cleaner calls me that! When might the Talmud be read out?

niminy & I are collaborating to bring you a new Bible Study thread, starting with the Psalms. She has more knowledge and I have more time, so, with that and God's blessing, it should work. Please all join us, and if you can think of a thread title that takes account of the similarities we have discovered and will probably continue to discover between our religious texts, please do suggest it.

Thanks MHD, I was also trying to find the one where Jesus says, in judgement, "I never knew you", as I think that was also about works/belief, but couldn't find it to check.

MrsSquirrel Wed 09-Jul-14 13:28:55

Hi everybody, nice to see you all here.

I am Jewish, thought I would pop in and answer the question upthread about the difference between the Torah and the Talmud.

The Torah consists of the first five books of the Hebrew bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. It is the basis of Jewish law. Those big scrolls we read from in synagogue on Saturday mornings have the Torah written on them.

The Talmud is a massive set of commentaries on the Torah. It contains writings on all sorts of topics, related to passages from the Torah.

madhairday Wed 09-Jul-14 12:53:44

Great passages Tuo and cheapskate, and yes Psalm 23 would be a great one to start with smile

Tuo Psalm 23, of course! Apart from being the one most people know, it just has so much for every occasion, and so beautifully phrased. For Muslims, Jews and anyone else who might not know, it's the Vicar of Dibley theme tune one.

Regarding good works, I love this bit from Matthew 25, 34-43

Then the king will say to those on his right, "Come, you who are blessed by my father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me."

Then the righteous will answer him. "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?"

The King will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."

(The next bit chills me)

Then he will say to those on his left, "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and you did not look after me."

Tuo Tue 08-Jul-14 22:37:17

peaceful: I'm not Jewish, but can have a go at explaining the 'atheist Jew' thing. Basically being Jewish is an ethnic identity as well as a religious one, so it's perfectly possible to be ethnically Jewish but not a believer. One example is the Italian writer and survivor of the Shoah, Primo Levi, whose family was entirely secular (as many Italian Jews were - much more so than those from Eastern Europe), wrote that growing up he thought that being Jewish just meant that you didn't eat salami and didn't have a Christmas tree. He wrote that he 'became Jewish' in Auschwitz; that is to say, that it was only there that he realised what it meant to identify (and to be identified, more to the point) as Jewish. He remained an atheist his whole life, though, so you could say that being in Auschwitz made him Jewish, but didn't make him religious. Hope that makes sense and that what I've said is correct. (Hoping a Jewish reader will come and correct me if not.)

In relation to sincerity in doing good deeds, I think of the beginning of Matthew 6: 'Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.'

Looking forward to talking about the Psalms. Should we just pick one and go for it? (I don't think we necessarily need to start at 1 and work our way through, though that's one option... Does anyone have a favourite?)

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