Muslims and Christians together make up well over half of
the world’s population. Without peace and justice between these two
religious communities there can be no meaningful peace in the world. The
future of the world depends on peace between Muslims and Christians.
The basis for this peace and understanding already exists.
It is part of the very foundational principles of both faiths: love of the
one god and love of the neighbour. These principles are found over and
over again in the sacred texts of Islam and Christianity. The unity of
god, the necessity of love for him and the necessity of love of the
neighbour is thus the common ground between Islam and Christianity. The
following are only a few examples:
Of god’s unity, god says in the holy Koran: "Say:
He is god, the one/ God, the self-sufficient, besought of all!" (al-Ikhlas,
112:1-2). Of the necessity of love for god, god says in the holy Koran:
"So invoke the name of thy lord and devote thyself to him with a complete
devotion" (al-Muzzammil, 73:8). Of the necessity of love for the neighbour,
Prophet Muhammad said: "None of you has faith until you love for your
neighbour what you love for yourself."
In the New Testament, Jesus Christ said: "Hear, O Israel,
the lord our god, the lord is one/ And you shall love the lord your god
with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all
your strength. This is the first commandment / And the second, like it, is
this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other
commandment greater than these" (Mark 12:29-31).
In the holy Koran, god most high enjoins Muslims to issue
the following call to Christians (and Jews – the people of the scripture):
"Say: O people of the scripture! Come to a common word between us and you:
that we shall worship none but god, and that we shall ascribe no partner
unto him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside god. And
if they turn away, then say: Bear witness that we are they who have
surrendered (unto him)" (al-Imran, 3:64).
The words: we shall ascribe no partner unto him
relate to the unity of god and the words: worship none but god
relate to being totally devoted to god. Hence they all relate to the
first and greatest commandment. According to one of the oldest and
most authoritative commentaries on the holy Koran, the words: that none
of us shall take others for lords beside god mean ‘that none of us
should obey the other in disobedience to what god has commanded’. This
relates to the second commandment because justice and freedom of religion
are a crucial part of love of the neighbour.
Thus in obedience to the holy Koran, we as Muslims invite
Christians to come together with us on the basis of what is common to us,
which is also what is most essential to our faith and practice: the two
commandments of love.