Introduction: The theme below consideration is additional relevant through this time of our political, social and religious disturbance than at any other time in the history of this nation. A retrospective appear into the activities of the Council of Churches in Sierra Leone (C.C.S.L.) cum the Inter- Religious Council in relation to their quest for a peaceful settlement of the crisis in this nation considering the fact that the signing of the initial peace accord and two other individuals thereafter, will not leave us in any doubt as to the relevance of this subject. As I probe the subject, I comprehend that there are specific important words that will have to be taken seriously. These words are: understanding, tolerance, cooperation and peaceful co-existence. Even so, devoid of the sensible implementation of the which means of these words, Christianity and Islam will be observed to be everlasting foes at the expense of progress. In my observation, I am convinced that 3 significant aspects amongst other individuals compel us to address this subject: 1. The brotherhood of the human race two. The similarity of religious beliefs three. The popular legacy of social complications.
THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE HUMAN RACE
The brotherhood of the human race is a compelling issue in the promotion of Christian – Muslim interaction for understanding, tolerance, cooperation and peaceful co-existence. Abdal-Rahman Azzarus, former Secretary, basic of the Arab League amongst 1945-1952 emphasized the significance of brotherhood when he noted.
Arabian society was divided by tribal prejudices and uncurbed individualism and human society was dominated by racial bigotry and pride in lineage when the prophet appeared with his get in touch with to brotherhood echoing the cry of God: 'O mankind! Lo! We have produced you male and Female, and have produced you nations and tribes that you may perhaps know one particular one more and be buddies. Lo! The noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the greatest in conduct.1
The teaching of the Bible supports brotherhood, and we see this portrayed in a lot of strategies:
(1) By way of the creation story in Genesis chapters 1 and two, the initial man and ancestor of mankind was produced, provided a companion, an abode and responsibilities to take care of his new atmosphere and procreate.
(two) By way of the story of the Tower of Babel we see a men and women speaking one particular language, establish to develop a city and a tower in order to make a name for themselves in total defiance of God's command to populate the complete earth. God place a swift cease to their intentions, confused their language and scattered them abroad.
(three) By way of the post-flood narratives in Genesis chapter 10 and 15 Noah's 3 sons subscribe to the origin of Nations as we have them currently, an thought verified by anthropologist, Arthur Custance:
a. The descendants of Japheth (Gen. 10:two-five) are Germany, Russia, Persia, Greece, Italy, America, Spain and Cyprus.
b. The descendants of Ham (Gen. 10:six-20) involve the following – Ethiopia, Egypt, black Africa, the Canaanites of Palestine now recognized as Palestinians, Babylon and Assyria (now recognized as Iraq), Phoenicia, the oriental men and women of China, Japan, and India.
c. Moreover, the descendants of Shem (Gen. 10:21-32 11:10 -32) are the Nation of Israel by means of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the Middle East Arab nations by means of Abraham, Ishmael and Esau.
Interestingly, there are Christians as nicely as Muslims amongst the descendants of Shem, Ham and Japheth so far listed above. In A lot of components of the Quran on the other hand, the Prophet Muhamad's belief in the brotherhood of the human race is provided confirmation (see suras -three:64 42: 13 two:256). In one particular specific instance we study in sura two:136 the following statement: “we think in Allah and that which is revealed unto us and that which was revealed unto Abraham, and Ishmael and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which Moses and Jesus received, and that which the prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction amongst any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered”two Certainly, what this sura is saying is that the brotherhood of the human race is one particular positive and significant popular denominator in inter-faith understanding.
THE SIMILARITY OF RELIGIOUS BELIEFS
The second underlying issue for Christian understanding of Islam for religious tolerance, inter-faith cooperation and peaceful co-existence is the reality that in each Christianity and Islam, there is similarity of religious beliefs. Lest I really should be misunderstood, I will have to underscore right here that the concepts of similarity neither connotes that Christianity and Islam are the exact same, nor imply that the Bible is one particular and the exact same theological doctrines but these teachings which are related ought also be honestly provided due regard in order to encourage interaction amongst the two religions.
(1) SOME Instance OF Equivalent RELIGIOUS BELIEFS: There is belief in one particular God, prophecy, worship, prayers, mercy, law, scriptures, patriarchs, sin, forgiveness, judgment, Heaven, hell, Angels, rewards, eternal life, moral character, justice and freedom and a lot of other individuals. What generally sparks of debate, ill will and malice is when proponents of each religions either advertently or inadvertently emphasize these beliefs that are dissimilar at the expense of these that are related.
In his book, Sandals at the Mosque, Kenneth Cragg is of the opinion that “Islam and Christianity deal fundamentally with the
Very same points and to a substantial extent deal with them in the exact same way. The distinctiveness that lies beyond the commonness is severe and inclusive and reaches back inevitably to qualify what is shared. The Christian presence in witness has to do critically and gloriously with this distinctiveness. But only on the ground f points in popular”. three In other words, what is popular belief to each religions will have to serve as points of get in touch with for much better understanding but really should not serve as a deterrent for critically assessing what is distinctively antithetical to each religions.
(two) Some Instance of Dissimilar Religious beliefs or Points of Divergence
The fatherhood of God is denied since God does not have a wife and thus, does not have young children but slaves. Jesus Christ according to Muslims, is not the Son of God but an apostle sent by God. He is a man and the slave of God. Islam also denies the crucifixion of Jesus Christ (see sura four:155ff). In the words of this verse – “They did not kill him and they did not crucify him, but one particular was produced to resemble him”four There are a lot of other points of divergence but we will have to remind ourselves once more that in order to foster understanding, cooperation and peaceful co-existence points of similarity will have to be the basis toward that finish.
THE Frequent LEGACY OF SOCIAL Difficulties
That each Christianity and Islam have a popular legacy of social complications is a reality that clearly manifests itself from nation to nation amongst the ancient and in today's contemporary societies or communities. The Bible and the Quran are ancient religions and theological books that serve as a guide not only to the adherents of Islam and Christianity but also to the whole planet as a complete.
In the Old Testament, in Exodus chapter 20, Yahweh offers mankind a social and religious blueprint in the type of commandments as a deterrent to antisocial and anti- religious behavior. The initial 4 requires care of man's connection to God:
1. Do not have other Gods ahead of me.
2. Do not make oneself a carved image or any likeness of something in Heaven or on the Earth.
3. Do not take the name of Yaweh in vain.
4. Recall the Sabbath Day and hold it holy.
A cordial connection amongst God and man, the Creator and the creature is crucial to a peaceful and progressive society. The second half of the commandments (six in quantity) offers with man to man connection.
5. Honor your father and your mother.
6. Do not kill.
7. Do not commit adultery.
8. Do not steal.
9. Do not give false witness against your neighbor.
10. Do not covet your neighbor's wife, or his servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or something that is his.
A break in connection amongst man and his maker may perhaps lead to a break in connection in society. It is needless to say right here that these commandments are emphasized and interpreted occasions devoid of quantity in the whole Bible.
In view of the foregoing, what shape or type does the popular legacy of social complications inherited by present day Islam and Christianity take currently? The answer is very simple. The setting aside of God's blueprint or commandments has provided birth to numerous other complications in various shapes and types. There is in our communities the following – poverty, wars, illness, murder, slavery, racism, tribalism, injustice, rape, embezzlement of state funds, armed robbery and a lot of other individuals.
A lot of men and women of various backgrounds and academic stature have in the previous attempted to resolve these popular complications in their personal tiny strategies but have failed. Prior to his death, the late President of the Republic of guinea, Ahmad Seku Ture wrote a book entitled. Islam for the People's Advantage, in which he interpreted Islam as a religion that is interested in the spiritual, social and political life of the men and women.five Beyond what ever man has completed in the previous in addressing social complications, there will have to also be inter-faith input and dialog.
“There is inter-religion in the basic sense that mankind is one particular in its elemental desires, yearnings, wistfulness and worry. Religions, across all their disparities, are about the exact same point, and have to do with the exact same planet, with the heart of man, finitude of life.”1 Conclusion
In conclusion, I will have to give credit to the Christian Neighborhood and the Islamic Faith in Sierra Leone for getting moved so quick from exactly where they had been twenty years ago to exactly where they now uncover themselves in terms of inter-faith and inter-denominational understanding and cooperation. Alternatively of worry, suspicion and inactivity, there is now openness, frankness, trust and cooperative activity amongst the various religious groups. So, the theme –Christian understanding of Islam for religious tolerance as a foundation for inter-faith cooperation on worth concerns for peaceful co-existence, is timely and relevant. What propels us to reflect on this theme that hinges on 3 aspects: The brotherhood of the human race. The similarity of religious beliefs. He popular legacy of social complications.