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Christian-Muslim-Jewish friendship thread

(229 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

twistyfeet Tue 13-Aug-13 18:10:08

They start with Rosh HaShanah, our New Year. The book of judgement (if your orthodox, which I'm not, you take this sort of literally) opens and G-d judges humanity , so jews begin prayers of repentance and ask for forgiveness. We celebrate with a special meal (when dont we?!) with apples dipped in honey and sweet foods to signify the sweetness of the new year and the harvest are eaten. Many people also do a ceremoney called Taschlich where breadcrumbs are thrown into a river to represent throwing off of sins and the shofar (rams horn) is blown during the service.
10 days later is the most important day of Yom Kippur (a 25 hour fast day) when G-d's decision is meant to be final so many jews spend the intervening days asking forgiveness to those they have wronged during the year. This is called Teshuvah. Yom Kippur is the holiest day in the jewish calender and probably the only day the synagogue is full wink
Before Yom Kippur ends it is traditional to start thinking about Sukkot (the feast of booths) which starts 5 days later and lasts 7 days. Sukkot commemorates the years that the Jews spent in the desert on their way to the Promised Land, and celebrates the way in which God protected them under difficult desert conditions. The word sukkot is the plural of the Hebrew word sukkah, meaning booth. Jews are commanded to "dwell" in booths during the holiday. This generally means meals, but some sleep in the sukkah as well, particularly in Israel where it isnt rainy. There are specific rules for constructing a sukkah. I dont usually make one as my garden is teeny but go round and eat in friend's sukkahs and the shul holds a communal meal in a sukkah.
the day after Sukkot is Simchat Torah which marks the end of the full cycle of Torah reading (a portion of the Torah is read every week in the synagogue over a solar year and then restarted). Its a bit dancy as this is a time of joy.

September is a little full!

As for the swaying during prayer. In yiddish its called 'shuckling'. I cant recall the hebrew term but its just like a meditative aid to prayer which I guess is the same in Islam. I read a very funny article the other day about types of shuckle which maybe you need to be jewish to find funny but I'll share it if people want grin.

crescentmoon Tue 13-Aug-13 18:52:55

Shuckling - see i never knew that it had a name!. i think meditative focus is right, though i sway abit during prayer at the mosque if the imam reads too long! Thats cause my feet are tired standing. but when i recite the quran or recite the names of God i find myself doing that back and forth or left to right in time with the reading, i learnt it as a child at quran school. i dont think converts to islam do it! I would like to read the article also- I bet it would be the same for the swaying in Islam!

twistyfeet Tue 13-Aug-13 19:34:09

she did forget the synchronised shuckle which is kinda funny to watch. you forget your own prayer in astonishment.
Dont read if easily offended. I'm jewish and I have a sense of humour.

crescentmoon Tue 13-Aug-13 20:23:44

There are many more types of shuckling here than you'd see in the mosque or madressah! I find the descriptions of the styles funny/interesting but it makes more sense to a Jewish person who understands the terms/expressions. I found the points against it and for it interesting in the comments/ shouldn't one stand still in awe in front of God? Or it is likened to trembling or a candle flickering. Very interesting points. It's a practise neither mentioned in the quran or Sunnah and Muslims argue about whether it is correct or not either. But go into any after school or weekend madressah and you'll find little kids doing it to help in memoristion! you find swaying more common in Sufi dhikrs where its in time to rythmic chanting, it is very synchronised. Otherwise its often asynchronised when people are reading the quran individually in the same room.

The description of the jewish holidays is very informative and gives glimpses of further similarities. Mosques are also at their fullest on the 27th night of ramadan! Do you have a book of deeds in Judaism? What is the judgement? How long is the Torah though that its read over the year?! Do people have Torah in their houses or is it in the synagogue only? I still remember the beautful scroll from trips to a synagogue as a school kid, i cant remember if that's the only form the Torah comes in?

twistyfeet Tue 13-Aug-13 20:58:10

Most religious jews would have a copy of the Torah in the house - its known as the Old Testament in English. You know, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. The Bible in other words. I've got copies in English with commentary and copies in hebrew. In the Synagogue it would be in scroll form and in hebrew and each week unrolled to the correct bit and either read or chanted in hebrew depending on the skill of your Rabbi or whoever is called up to read it.
I guess it was divided into 52 handy portions so it would be read over a year, a bit like the Quran gets divided into 30 portions to be read over Ramadan? On Shabbat services its read during the service along with sung prayers, the scroll is paraded with sung prayers (yeah, its heavy) and often there's a sermon or discussion and some more singing. Orthodox jews have weekday prayer services too but I've never been to one. Fridays nights there candle lighting for Shabbat and a blessing over wine and bread and a short service (the Torah scroll doesnt come out for that, only on the saturday)

Personally I think God judges you over your whole life, not cracks open a metaphorical book once a year but I guess its good to think about how you've behaved over the past year. As Teshuvah is about your behaviour towards other people it really is a useful concept. We believe sin and bad behaviour damages your own soul, not God. Nothing can damage God so sin against yourself and other people and asking forgiveness from others is the important thing and asking God's help in making things right (cos its not easy is it!) is what teshuvah is all about.

As for shuckling, I dont. I have enough trouble focusing on the hebrew in the prayer book and reading it and any swaying would making me fall over. The main prayer, the Amidah, is done standing up with some steps and some bows. I'm the most unco-ordinated person in the world. If you added in a shuckle I'd fall over grin

ZutAlorsDidier Wed 14-Aug-13 21:42:15

Excuse me, crescent moon and others, for asking a silly question, but: do muslims have a Sabbath?

stressedHEmum Thu 15-Aug-13 10:44:08

twisty, is the rest of the Tanakh read in the synagogue as well, or just the Pentateuch?

To my knowledge, Christians don't routinely sway while praying, certainly not in my branch - but then we don't have ritual prayers at all, so maybe in other denominations it's different. My lot would struggle to clap their hands while singing hymns, tbh. I think that I would probably fall off the pew if I had to sway with my eyes shutgrin

Sorry, I still haven't replied to the questions about materialism in Christianity. I'm having a hard time adjusting to these new meds and they're making me very dizzy and confused. I'll try my best in a couple of days when, hopefully, I'll feel a bit more coherent.

twistyfeet Thu 15-Aug-13 12:35:17

Hi Stressed. We have whats called a Haftarah reading taken from the rest of the Torah (prophets/psalms etc) after the main Torah portion but most people read the rest themselves and the prayers are taken from Torah and sung.

Know what you mean about meds. I started a new one at the beginning of the year for migraine and its destroyed my memory. So badly I couldnt recall my hebrew name when called by it at the synagogue and sat there blinking when i heard it and thought why doesnt X get up. Until I realised that was me blush
Mind you, I did hear a tale about the new Chief Rabbi (scuse any unintentional offence). When he lifted the Torah scroll in a service once, he said 'Jesus, thats heavy'. There was a moment of stunned silence before the Irish Rabbi shot back 'For Christs's sake dont drop it' grin

stressedHEmum Thu 15-Aug-13 14:32:08

twisty, that's very funny. I have a picture in my head now!

How are you now? Hope your migraine meds are working. I have ME and fibromyalgia, so the specialist has introduced yet another drug to take. it'll just take a few days to adapt, I hope.

twistyfeet Thu 15-Aug-13 18:15:56

They seem to be (its topamax, also know as stupidomax) but have played havoc with my memory and concentration. And my ability to stop blurting out my inappropritae sense of humour grin
I've been asked to give a small speech on Yom Kippur as a charity I put forward has been chosen as our charity of the year. Given my inability to control my gob I might just gaffer tape it up and use flashcards. Luckily the majority of the synagogue has a sense of humour and we do joke a lot but Yom Kippur is the Holiest Day ever. I'll probably turn bright red and fall over.

crescentmoon Sat 17-Aug-13 17:41:31

Hi there zutalors, id hoped someone else would answer you by now. not been online much these days. we dont have a sabbath day in islam. we normally say our holy day is Friday, as Jewish people have Saturday and Christians Sunday. the obligation to observe Friday as the day for the congregational assembly is in the Quran...

"O you who have believed, when [the adhan] is called for the prayer on the day of Jumu'ah [Friday], then proceed to the remembrance of God and leave trade. That is better for you, if you only knew." (62:9)

its an important verse the whole chapter is named after it, Surah Al Jumu'ah - the Assembly. (most of the 114 chapters of the Quran are named after a particular command or story that appears in that chapter). ibasically the noon prayer that is part of the 5 is instead replaced with the Friday prayer, which involves a sermon and then the ritual prayer itself is shorter: 2 units instead of 4 units. its compulsory for men to attend the Friday prayer but not compulsory for women, instead it is a sunnah (recommended).

but its not the Sabbath as Saturday or Sunday are, because whilst the verse says 'go to the remembrance of God and leave trade', the verse immediately after it says...

"And when the prayer has been concluded, disperse within the land and seek from the bounty of God, and remember God often that you may succeed" (62:10)

so when the prayer has ended it is allowed to go back to work/trade, just 'remember God often'. in the rest of the 5 daily prayers if nothing else. the Friday is about attending the sermon and the congregational noon prayer not setting aside the whole day. although this is a recognised feature of the older religions, keeping the Sabbath was something for the followers of the earlier prophets to observe that was not required of the followers of Muhammad (pbuh).

"...And We said to them, “Do not violate Sabbath, and We took from them a solemn Covenant” (4:154)

hope that answers the question.

sorry about the new medication being difficult stressed, i hope the preparations for the speech you have to give twistyfeet are going well.

stressedHEmum Sun 25-Aug-13 13:17:43

SO, I shall try a very short answer to the question about materialism in Christianity. Please forgive the inevitable errors of spelling and grammar.

There is quite a clear picture of materialism in the New Testament and what our attitude should be. Basically, as a Christian adult, you have a responsibility to provide for yourself and your family, but that has to be balanced against the other teachings. We are to be content with food and clothing (and shelter), and in whatever circumstances that we find ourselves. We are not to seek after wealth but after the Kingdom and pleasing God. We should trust God to provide what we really, really need because he knows what that is before we do.

The attitude of Christianity towards wealth etc. is that we should focus on covering our basic needs not our wants, so that as long as we have what we really NEED, then we should not look for more, because this distracts us fro what is truly important - seeking God and building up treasure in heaven.

18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful Mark4: 18-19, from the parable of the sower.

*13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”* Luke 12: 13-21 the parable of the rich fool

*22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life[b]? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.* Luke 12: 22 -24

*5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,

“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.”[a]
6 So we say with confidence,

“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?* Hebrews 13: 5-6

There is also a positive burden laid on Christians to redistribute their wealth and care for the poor. In the early church, all the believers put all their assets together for the benefit of everyone, so that everyone had sufficient food, clothing etc. There is a very real and vitally important burden put onto Christians to care for the poor. So we should always try to make sure that when we benefit on any way or gain in material wealth that it should not be at the expense of the poor.

Another important aspect of Christian attitude to money is that we believe that God is far more interested in the condition of our heart and what goes on inside us than He is in what we have. The story of the widow's mite shows us that a small gift, given willingly and sacrificially, is worth far more the God than a huge gift which costs the giver nothing.

There are literally dozens and dozens of quotes that I could give about money and possessions in the NT, but it would take all day. I think that Jesus story of the rich young man kind of sums it all up.
*6 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, ‘Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?’

17 ‘Why do you ask me about what is good?’ Jesus replied. ‘There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.’

18 ‘Which ones?’ he enquired.

Jesus replied, ‘“You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honour your father and mother,”[a] and “love your neighbour as yourself.”[b]’

20 ‘All these I have kept,’ the young man said. ‘What do I still lack?’

21 Jesus answered, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’

22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.* Matthew19:16-22

crescentmoon Sat 14-Sep-13 20:40:54

i know today is the end of Yom Kippur and i wish i knew the correct way to acknowledge it with our Jewish sisters. can i say happy Yom Kippur or is it too solemn an occasion. i googled about the story and Moses and the calf but I couldnt find a greeting for this occasion. as muslims we fast the day that Moses split the sea escaping with the Jews from Pharoah - its a big day on the Muslim fast calender and we usually fast the day of it and the day before or the day after it. but i didnt know that Yom Kippur commemorated the other famous story in the life of Moses!

theres a recent post on an Orthodox Jewish blog thats doing the rounds on alot of muslim facebook pages right now, a really interesting and enjoyable read about love in marriage. it really connected with people from different backgrounds i wonder how christians will find it also?

stressed i really appreciate the quoted scripture and references when you post. it brings to mind so much in common, especially this part..

" 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life[b]? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?"
27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.

i think those are very poignant verses. to have that kind of trust in God is very highly elevated in Islam also - its called Tawakkul. very hard to get the balance of it right though!

niminypiminy Sun 29-Jun-14 12:46:55

Been meaning to restart this thread for a while, and found it today to say:

Ramadan Mubarak to all MN Muslims

Now more than ever let us reach out to each other in peace and friendship.

crescentmoon Sun 29-Jun-14 12:59:58

Ramadan Mubarak to you too niminy, bless you for starting this thread and reviving it.

Letsgoforawalk Sun 29-Jun-14 22:22:47

Oh I like this thread!
peace to you all. To any Muslim friends I hope you have all the help you need during Ramadan at what must be quite a difficult time of year to be fasting in the daylight hours.
Could only realistically describe myself as an atheist but it's a wide world and we all need to get along so I'd love to know more about people's beliefs.

niminypiminy Sun 29-Jun-14 22:30:39

All are welcome here, the only thing to remember this is not a debate thread, but a place for friendship and reaching out to understand each other.

I am very excited, I have just bought a copy of the Quran (in English translation), waiting for it to arrive. If I were recommending someone who'd never read the Bible before where to start, I'd say the Gospel of Mark. Is there a good place for me to start with my reading?

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 01-Jul-14 01:57:19

Have just spotted this and think it's a wonderful idea. I don't have time to read it now, so just marking my place for tomorrow.

I am Dione, I used to be an atheist but I'm not one now. I am a kind of Catholic. I have a gorgeous DS(7) who has recently received an SEN diagnosis. I have been separated from his dad for 6 years. Although I had been a believer for a number of years, it was only once I'd left my Ex that I started going to mass again (my family are Catholic). I have an atheist DP.

crescentmoon Tue 01-Jul-14 02:34:46

Gah I just wrote a long reply which has disappeared off into the ether. basically im so glad you ordered a Quran niminy and I wish Id known earlier so i could have gifted one to you. which translation is it do you remember? I would say you could read the Quran from start to finish, i often do, but its not a chronological book as the Bible is with Genesis (the beginning of time) at its start and Revelations (the end of time) at its end. the chapters of the Quran are organised in size order, roughly largest to smallest. i would recommend starting from the 30th Juz/part, which is from the beginning of Chapter 78 till the end of Chapter 114 and where younger children begin learning the Quran from as the chapters are smallest and easiest to read (and also recite in arabic). then the 29th Juz/part, which is where older children begin study from as the chapters are longer than in the 30th but still shorter than the rest of the Quran. then I would go back to the beginning of the Quran and read through. smile. i hope the translation you have also has some tafsir/exegesis/commentary, otherwise i can point them to you online or otherwise. happy reading.
i keep meaning to read the Bible, called the Injil (the Gospels) in Arabic. is the Gospel of Mark the shortest? is that why you recommend it niminy? i was intrigued from a long biblical quote on tolerance made by another mumsnetter on another thread a few weeks ago so id like to read more around it if i find it again.

now im off to have my last glass of water before the fast begins. good night all.

niminypiminy Tue 01-Jul-14 09:21:40

It's the OUP World's Classics edition, which gets very good reviews on Amazon -- I think it has notes and commentary too which I'm sure I'll need! Looking forward to getting my copy and beginning. Is it ok if I post questions or reflections that occur to me as I go along? I would really appreciate your wisdom and guidance.

The gospel of Mark is much the shortest of the four gospels, and most people think it was the first one to be written, and that Matthew and Luke drew on Mark for much of their material.

Have a good day today.

madhairday Tue 01-Jul-14 09:28:03

Lovely to see this thread revived again, thanks niminy!

Blessings to everyone here.

I would love to know more about Ramadan, crescent and others - can you give me an outline of how you observe it, what is behind it etc? I know some stuff but would like to build up what I know. Thanks smile

BlessedAssurance Tue 01-Jul-14 18:41:51

What a lovely thread niminy. I would like to join too.

Hello everyone :-) i am a mother to two adorable children, DD-4 and Ds-3 months. I was born and raised in Catholic home but left the church more than 10yrs ago to become what some may call pentecostal. Dh is atheist.

Interesting hearing from different faiths and looking forward to hearing more especially about Judaism. I have many Muslim friends so know a bit about Islam but would like to learn more.
Waves to fellow pals Mhd and niminy

cheapskatemum Tue 01-Jul-14 21:33:05

Hi all! I missed this thread a year ago, but am finding it very interesting now. I'm a Christian Baptist, DH is a lapsed Catholic. We have 4 DSs aged 22,20,19 and 16. Apart from me, DS2 is the only one who attends church regularly and he has LD + ASD. I have Jewish and Muslim friends (also Hindu, Sikh and Rastafarian ones) from when we lived in London. <waves> to Blessed, MHD, Niminy, TGHOMR, Tuo whom I know from Bible reading and prayer threads. Sorry if I've missed anyone. I look forward to getting to know the rest of you. Predestination and free will a topic of much interest to me. I've come to it from the angle of how prayer, and intercessory prayer can affect predestination. I would also add that, for a Christian, good works are a way of showing love for Christ, in that you want to be as much like him as possible.

Tuo Tue 01-Jul-14 23:09:10

So pleased to see this thread revived. smile

Ramadan mubarak (belatedly) to crescentmoon and the other muslim posters on this thread. Was thinking of my muslim friends today - about how hard the fast must be at this time of year, when it's barely dark at all.

crescentmoon Fri 04-Jul-14 09:58:04

hello my lovelies, i really hope i wont be the only muslim posting here inshaallah (God Willing).

cheapskatemum i always found it interesting reading your and others posts on the Bible reading threads. perhaps we could do a study based on the Psalms here in the Christian-Muslim-Jewish Friendship thread from time to time? iv always wanted to read more just based on the occasional verses quoted here on these threads, the praise and awe parts.

Id also be interested to hear from from Jewish posters blessedassurance. i read yesterday about Rabbi Natan Levi, the Board of Deputies Interfaith Consultant, an Orthodox Rabbi observing Ramadan. the Ramadan fasting tradition is actually from the Jewish and Christian fasts,

"O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may learn self restraint" (2:183).

upon those before you is about the Ahlul Kitab, the People of the Book/Scripture.

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