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Peace in Islam

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     Frederick Denny, the keynote speaker of the night spoke on Islam and its moral responsibility and how Muslims need to educate. He was a very intelligent man and great speaker, but he was too philosophical for the students in the audience. I was one of those misfortunate souls who could not understand where he was going. He hit on many key points that connected the current problems of Islam and ideas of liberation theology.
     He stressed that Islam is and always will be a monotheistic, ethical religion. I agree with this statement and with the education of the youth and the world, others will see that Islam is not evil or that much different from Christianity in faith. In his randomness he also hit on the ideas of sin. In Islam Ma’arvt and Mounkar are the Islamic terms for what Christians call sinless and sinful acts or the expectable and not expectable behaviors. From these aspects of faith one can seek justice and morality through God, the one who wills and acts justly.
     Spiritual morality and justice are filtered from God and should not be questioned. We should take what he gives us and use it responsibly. Doing what is right and just in the eyes of the lord will draw one closer to the almighty. Closeness to the Creator is the ultimate of all Muslims and with understanding and education all will see that this is the goal of all the Abraham faiths. All 3 believe that happiness comes from love for him. He asks only that we should “spend of our substances out of love for him alone.” Meaning moral duty enacted out of duty for him, “for god’s sake first.”
     Doing all things through the lord first and then showing and educating the people, the world and Muslims alike in the ways of the lord can reach peace in Denny’s opinion. There are struggles with-in Islam itself with the more radical liberation theology. They take their faith to the extreme and segregate their own. Find peace from with-in, find peace amongst your brothers, and then find peace amongst your neighbors in order to accomplish Takwa (avoidance of unethical). There will be a great deal of suffering. Denny does not Denny does not deny that. He says along with many Muslims that suffering with the principle of faith. Arming oneself with the glory of God will maintain your spirits and ultimately lead you to peace.

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But Denny says you must have patience; ‘Allah is with those who are patient.”
     With Islam loosing stride to European power, Muslims need to seriously consider these things and put their inner-religious differences aside if they want to remain in the main stream. When they learn to do these things and with the Vatican acknowledging respect for Judaism, Hinduism, and Islam as followers of the way, God, Muslims have a chance to survive and find peace.
     This was Professor Denny’s view on how Islam and eventually Christianity will find peace amongst themselves and eventually with each other. Education, patience, and doing all things through him are key to this major road bump. Now this view was the more general view of scholars. The next speaker Mark Swanson, who I thought did a very good job, explained Islamic Jihad.
     Yes, education is important and through fighting the good fight, one must be learned in the Koran and know ones inner self. Jihad is an ordinary Arabic word for struggle. This term was first seen in 1st Timothy with “fight the good fight” spoken by St. Paul. Amongst Muslims there are several stages of Jihad: inner (in the heart), armed struggle (in defense of community), struggle to do God’s will, and missionary work. The Muslim world at present is struggling with armed or lesser Jihad and this is what the media is showing the world.
     The militant factor is fighting with its own and calling those that don’t follow true Islam, Jâhiliyyah. The unbelievers, the ignorant, a term used by terrorists as well. This faction of true Islam is causing more suffering, more Jihad and pushing the world away, when in actuality they need the help of Westerners, of Christians. The struggle of “fighting the good fight” began in Cairo, Egypt with families seeking a better life and finding only more Jihad.
     Twentieth century development has pointed to the Koran as a guidepost to peace and reconciliation. How you read the Koran and how you read the bible are vital to understanding what must be down on earth in order to be in the glory of God. Deuteronomy 20 with its rules for Christian war is similar to the koranic rules of fighting, they both need to be interpreted and applied in historical terms, not lived. Muslims, especially in North America, need to deal with these passages and learn how to interpret them. Stressing the passages that call for peace even in times of struggle. “Don’t be the aggressor for God does not love the aggressors.” Direct tackling of the texts will be difficult, but it is a more fruitful path to take than militant tactics. Muslims and Christians learn to live their scriptures for the future of their faith.      Peace, reconciliation, can it ever happen with-in Christianity and Islam? Both Christianity and Islam need to find an expectable standard of moral behavior, and then they can begin finding truce between the two faiths. Both Christianity and Islam believe in the idea that humans are possessors of free will and that God is the Justifier of the entire universe including the human soul.

Sources:
Keynote Speaker: Frederick Denny
Workshop: Mark Swanson (replaced Dr. Ghulam Aasi)

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