Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Three Religions in Peace and Brotherhood

In accordance with the respective Holy Scriptures of the three “Abrahamic Religions”, the Three Religions could and should live in peace and brotherhood, instead of vying; downgrading; fighting; or missionizing one the other.
If we trace back to the original texts of the Koran and of the Paulinic writings, and try to understand them according to their own testimonies as complying with the “Book”, i.e. the Hebrew Bible, we would see that these three books are not contradicting, notwithstanding that they ordain different rites for their respective followers. That is, as soon as Jews, Christians, and Moslems, would come to understand their respective books as integral parts of the one Divine Truth, we could find, and play in unison, every one of us our roles like different members of an orchestra who play under their one director.
The idea of an orchestra playing under one director, is taken from some Psalms where one of God’s epithets is indeed menatzeah (usually rendered in English translations as “Chief Musician”; e.g. Ps. 67): it actually refers to the Most High who directs the course of the events unto His final government with the ensuing peace and welfare of humanity. (See also Is. 41:1-4).
Let’s have a look at the relevant Scriptures:
A) The Jewish Morning Service [Shaharit] has the following prayer, based upon Is. 6:3, and Ezek. 3:12. The relevant passages read:
“Blessed art Thou, Lord our God, King of the universe, Former of light and Creator of darkness, who makest peace and createst evil… All shall thank Thee; all shall praise Thee; all shall declare: There is none holy like the Lord! All shall forever extol Thee, Creator of all. Thou, o God, givest light to the whole world and to its inhabitants whom Thou hast created in mercy. In mercy Thou givest light to the earth and to those who dwell on it; in thy goodness Thou renewest the work of creation every day ,constantly they all do with apprehension and reverence the will of their Creator; they all open their mouths in holiness and purity, in poesy and melody, and bless, and praise, and glorify, and revere, and sanctify, and enthrone the Name of God, the great, mighty, and aw- inspiring King, holy is He.
They all accept unto themselves the rule of the Kingdom of Heavens, one from the other, and give leave to one another to hallow their Creator. In gratification, with purified speech and sacred melody, they all exclaim in unison and reverence:
Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God of Hosts:
The whole earth is full of His glory.
Then the celestial ofanim [=type of ministering angels] and the hayoth haKodesh [=type of holy beings], rising with a loud sound toward the seraphim, respond with praise, and say:
“Blessed be the glory of the Lord from His abode”
The threefold “Holy”, taken from Is. 6:3, could be understood in a way that each of the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism; Christianity; Islam; may under the guidance of its respective angel say its “Holy”, or Praise, not in deviations from its respective scripture; and not in dissonance, but in: purified, and harmonious language in accordance with the teachings of the Prophets, and thus in consonance and unison with one another to the praise of the One Lord of all. It would honor His Name infinitely, in contrast to waging “Holy Wars”; and would not put anyone to shame: Grace and Truth would meet, and Righteousness and Peace would kiss each other, as said in Ps. 85:10.
Significantly, that threefold “Holy” sung in pure speech hallowing the One Creator of all, is according to our Morning Prayer, directed by the Celestial Beings to the “Lord from His Abode” (מקום). While His Abode cannot be confined by us humans to any specific place, He has yet ordained Mount Moriah as the place of the Dwelling of His Name and of direction of worship (1.Kings 8:26-30; 2.Chron. 3:1; Ps. 133; et al).
Drawing the conclusion, Prophet Isaiah foresees, and foretells, in his famous prophecy:
“… and many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will go in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem… O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord” (Is. 2:3-5).
Then will also the well-known word of the Psalm come to its fulfillment:
“Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together also in unison” (Ps. 133:1). Not merely dwelling side by side would do, rather, dwelling together also in unison as pre-condition for true peace and brotherhood of Abraham’s descendents.

B) Apostle Paul writes (in Rom. 15:9, quoting from Deuter. 32:43):
“Rejoice, you nations, with His people”
C) And the Koran enjoins:
“To every one of you [=Jews; Christians; Muslim] We have appointed a right way and an open road. If God had willed, He would have made you one nation; but that He may try you in that has come to you. So be you forward in good works; unto God shall you return, all together; and He will tell you of that were you were at variance”
(quoted from “The Koran Interpreted”, by A. J. Arberry, Oxford University Press)
Dr. Asher Eder


(Summary of the essay)
The ruling wing of Islam has severed its original ties with the “Book” (the Tanakh, Hebrew Bible) and the “People of the Book,” Israel. It plays out the idea of Jihad, and the quest of Jerusalem.
In Islamic view, a Jihad can end only with a complete victory - or else with an unreserved admittance that engaging in it was wrong from the start.
The Koran itself suggests this change of attitude, and can help pave the way to mutual understanding and co-operation:
1. it stresses the continued validity of the “Book” – Jonah 38; Table 52; Cow 172;
Believers 56; Bee 45-47; and others;
2. it recognizes the teachings of the Prophets, even of the rabbis - Table 48,
(notwithstanding Repentance 30-35);
3. it recognizes the peculiarity of Israel and the unparalleled gifts to its people (incl.
the Land) – Hobbling 15; Cow 44, 116; Smoke 30;
4. the Holy Land prescribed for Israel - Table 23;
5. it was Allah who settled the Children of Israel there – Jonah 93;
6. Israel admonished to stand firmly on the Torah – Table 73, et al;
7. Israel rebuked for not fighting for her land - Cow 60, 247;
8. David’s kingdom [Zion], and Psalms, confirmed, and David being acknowledged as
a Divine viceroy and judge on earth – Zad 19, 25; Cow 252 [cf. Is. 28:16];
9. the Psalms and the Prophets speak of Israel’s return to the land and
to Jerusalem, and so does the Koran – Bani Israel 8, 105;
10. Israel often harshly rebuked in the Koran, but there is no cancellation of the
Covenant or of the Promises;
11. on the contrary, the words of the Prophets shall surely be established –
Greeks 5; Hobbling 31; Believers 76;
12. Muslim should have given refuge to persecuted believers – The Spoils 75,76;
13. Abraham is called a truly faithful, i.e. Moslem- Imram 60; Pilgrimage 77; Cattle
162; likewise the Prophets – Table 48, notwithstanding their keeping Shabbat
and their direction of prayer toward Jerusalem;
14. Abraham established
a) Mount Moriah in Jerusalem for Israel - Gen. 22:2; 2.Chron.3:1,
b) the Kaaba in Mecca for Ishmael - Cow 119, 123
(yet 1.Kings 8:41-53; also Cow 171!);
15. Quiblah (direction of prayer) for Muslims to Mecca, and for Jews to Jerusalem
(Cow 140,143), yet see also Cow 171 - and 1.Kings 8:41-53;
16. Koran admits different religious rites, and urges us to emulate in good works –
Cow 143; Table 53; Pilgrimage 66;
17. ONE GOD for Ishmael and Israel (The Spider, 45; Counsel, 14);
18. Allah wants to be honored by forgiveness and love - Table 15-17,
Woman Tested 7; Counsel 14.
It is the words of the Prophets which provide the base for true peace
(Democracy, being merely a form of government but not its soul, must be guided
by them).
Dr. Asher Eder, Jewish Co-Chairman, Islam-Israel Fellowship,
Root and Branch Assoc. Ltd, Yerushalayim/Israel
The essay, which carries a supportive foreword by Prof Sheikh Abdul Hadi Palazzi, is available by request from:; or:
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A B R A H A M ’ S P R A Y E R

When told by the Lord that in spite of his advanced age he would have a son with Sarah, Abraham prayed (Gen. 17:18):

"O that Ishmael might live before thee".

Abraham loved both his sons, Ishmael and Isaac, therefore he had to be told:

"Take now thy son, thine only one whom you have loved, even Isaac..."
(Gen. 22:2).

The specification "even Isaac," was to tell him which one of the two beloved sons he should bring to Mt. Moriah.

Abraham did not merely pray "that Ishmael might live." He was not concerned that Ishmael would be threatened by Isaac, and would need a special prayer for protection from him.

Abraham was concerned that Ishmael, born from Hagar and biologically the firstborn, might try to bring the whole heritage unto himself, depriving Isaac of God's promise1).

Abraham's prayer that Ishmael might live before the Lord was meant to encourage and guide him to let the spiritual − Abrahamic − inheritance get the upper hand, so that he would be alive in the Divine spirit, and consequently recognize also Isaac's call.

The two brothers and their descendants should not fight over the inheritance rather "compete in good works" as the Koran, Ishmael's guide book, says so aptly2).

In the spirit of our Father Abraham, let us pray:

O h t h a t b o t h o f u s

I s h m a e l a n d I s r a e l

m i g h t l i v e b e f o r e T h e e "

1) Ishmael is the ancestor of the Arab (Muslim) nations; Isaac is one of the three Patriarchs of Israel.
2) Sura “The Table” 53; also “The Cow” 143; “Pilgrimage” 66.