Peaceful coexistence possible with unity among the followers of Abrahamic faith

New Delhi: Asad Mirza, Urdu journalist who was at one time associated with BBC and now with the British High Commission in Delhi as the editor of its Urdu magazine British Jaaiza (British Review), points out in his book The Abrahamic Religions that the common and basic teaching of all the three scriptures, i.e., The Torah, The Bible and The Qur’an is that love to God lies in love with human beings. He says in this book that the reason of present day’s, or in fact of all times, unrest, differences and wars lies not in Judaism, Christianity and Islam but in the followers of these heavenly guided religions. Though they believe in God and the teachings of these Divine Books, they contradict themselves by their behaviour in their daily life which gives rise to all vices of the world. Therefore, without making a comparative study of these religions and inspite of a number of major and minor differences, he ignores them in his book and lays emphasis on similarities and oneness in these religions without which any kind of unity or peaceful coexistence in the world is not possible.

He argues that difference of opinion is necessary for a healthy and democratic living but differences in people’s sayings and doings are the main causes of riots and conflicts and because of such differences (in sayings and doings), inspite of their basic unity they become so much strangers, nay inimical, that peaceful coexistence among them becomes impossible. Describing Hazrat Ibrahim’s, pivotal role in all the three scriptures he says that in the Middle East in olden days people used to sacrifice human beings to propitiate God. But to stop such inhuman practices, he says, the sacrifice of Hazrat Ismail and his replacement by an animal was God’s decision and hence after that the sacrifice of human beings to propitiate God was discontinued. For this, he says, all peoples or civilizations of the world should be thankful to Abrahamic religion.

He emphasises the point that prior to Muslims, Christians believed that Christ was the last prophet of God and did not believe Prophet Muhammad as the last Prophet in the same way Jews had thought that Moses was the last prophet of God and did not recognise Christ as His last prophet and do not also believe in the Christian’s faith that Christ was born from virgin Mary and that he was taken to God alive; but despite this disbelief, Jews respect Christians faith. In the same way Jews and Christians, though not believing in the prophethood of Muhammad respect him (Prophet Muhammad) because of Muslims’ strong faith in the Qur’an and in him because the teachings of both Torah and Bible are complemented in Qur’an which also preaches the same message of peaceful coexistence as Torah and Bible do.

Though, compared to Judaism and Christianity, roots of Islam are not deep in non-Arab areas, it does not mean that the concept of submission to one God and the message of human brotherhood does not exist in Islam. It is because of the commonality of these views in all the three religions that Hazrat Ibrahim had broken all the idols in the first abode of God and in place of inhuman practices and traditions prevailing then he founded human civilisation.

It may be borne in mind that the new practice of sacrifice of human life for propitiation of God in olden days was brought to an end by God’s miracle in replacement of Hazrat Ismail with an animal. It is therefore incumbent on all of us who are the descendents and followers of Abrahamic faith to understand the objective of God in creating the universe, have faith in the Day of Judgement, reward and punishment, surrender our differences to God and get united for the sake of human welfare. It is not surprising that this may be God’s objective also.

In this small book running into 56-page, containing 12 chapters and published by Minorities Initiative for Learning and Partnership (MILAP), effort has been made to make it easily understood by all so that the followers of all the three religions, instead of the fruitless rivalry for proving one’s superiority over another, should follow the teachings and messages of our respective religions for peaceful coexistence in the world, all of which lead us to path of righteousness for attaining the proximity to God.

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This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 May 2011 on page no. 9

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