Saturday, 30 March 2013

The Passion

Happy Easter everyone. Yesterday was Good Friday, Christians take time to remember the crucifixion of Jesus, and on Easter Sunday he was said to have risen from the dead. Christians believe that Christ was the Son of God who came to earth to die and take away people's sins. The Bible says that he arose from the dead three days later, on Easter Sunday, and ascended to heaven. This is pretty much the fundamental story of Christianity. Christians started observing Good Friday in the fourth century AD.

Each of us has many parts to their identity. I am a Malaysian, I living in Bunbury, Australia. I am an accountant. However for each thing that we are, there are many more things that we are not.

I am a Muslim, which means that I believe in Islam. That automatically means that I do not believe in any other religion, except where the beliefs of that other religion overlap with the beliefs of Islam, such as believing in one God. For example, I don’t believe in Christianity, although with Christianity the overlaps with Islam are very many. Indeed I don’t know of any other two religions that are closer to each other.

If you support Manchester United, it automatically means that you don’t support any other football clubs. You don’t need to apologise for not supporting those other clubs; it is simple logic.

Not believing in Christianity does not stop me reading the Bible. You don’t weaken your own faith by learning about the faith of other people and by understanding them. The same goes for my reading of other religious texts.

For Muslims to live in in the world while being ignorant of the beliefs of 77% of the people around them is just not good enough. Each of us has the same obligation to understand our fellow men and women, regardless of whether we are Muslim or non-Muslim. We need to understand other religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and so on. We also need to understand how agnostics and atheists think.

You cannot get that knowledge from other Muslims, just as non-Muslims cannot learn about Islam properly if they stick to non-Muslim sources. You have to go to the people who believe in those other religions, and to their books and other writings.

To Non Muslim, Islam is also the religion of about 1.5 billion people around the world, about 23% of humanity, in 57 Muslim majority countries. To work with people, to trade with people, you have to understand them. You cannot understand Muslims without understanding something about Islam.
For a peaceful co-existence people have to understand each other’s faith. Relationship should be based on the best morality and justice. If we keep these things in mind in our relations with Non-Muslims then we reflect a brighter picture of Islam and Muslims.

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