Council on American-Islamic Relations, Jewish Voice for Peace find common cause - Washington Times
From dark netherworld populated by ghosts to reincarnation to multiple souls: The Jewish concept of the afterlife has been to hell and back. The King who allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem and build the 2nd Temple “God has anointed him” against “the forces of hell,” she said. that the Christians and Jews want this to happen with very different goals in mind. God, is deeply offensive to Muslims and politically explosive, to put it mildly. Nor did they turn up their noses at Christianity and adopt Judaism. First, there are eight words used for a purely business purpose. truth, Islam is the religion of truth, and this Jewish and Christian stuff is not . Not in Muhammad's lifetime, but a couple of years after his death, . They go to hell, they burn.
Can Muslims be friends with Jews and Christians? - IslamiCity
Judaism does not accept the retronymic labeling of its sacred texts as the "Old Testament", and some Jews[ who? Judaism rejects all claims that the Christian New Covenant supersedesabrogatesfulfills, or is the unfolding or consummation of the covenant expressed in the Written and Oral Torahs.
Therefore, just as Christianity does not accept that Mosaic law has any authority over Christians, Judaism does not accept that the New Testament has any religious authority over Jews.
AntinomianismBiblical law in Christianityand Christian anarchism Many Jews view Christians as having quite an ambivalent view of the Torah, or Mosaic law: Examples of this are certain commandments that God states explicitly be a "lasting covenant" NIV Exod Some translate the Hebrew as a "perpetual covenant" Exod Likewise, some Christians[ who?
Christians explain that such selectivity is based on rulings made by early Jewish Christians in the Book of Actsat the Council of Jerusalemthat, while believing gentiles did not need to fully convert to Judaism, they should follow some aspects of Torah like avoiding idolatry and fornication and blood including, according to some interpretations,[ which? This view is also reflected by modern Judaism, in that Righteous gentiles needn't convert to Judaism and need to observe only the Noahide Laws, which also contain prohibitions against idolatry and fornication and blood.
Concepts of God[ edit ] This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Judaism and major sects of Christianity reject the view that God is entirely immanent although some[ who? Both religions reject the view that God is entirely transcendentand thus separate from the world, as the pre-Christian Greek Unknown God. Both religions reject atheism on one hand and polytheism on the other. Both religions agree that God shares both transcendent and immanent qualities.
How these religions resolve this issue is where the religions differ. Christianity posits that God exists as a Trinity ; in this view God exists as three distinct persons who share a single divine essenceor substance. In those three there is one, and in that one there are three; the one God is indivisible, while the three persons are distinct and unconfused, God the FatherGod the Sonand God the Holy Spirit.
There are two kinds of jihad. One is defensive, and the other is offensive. Defensive jihad is straightforward. If the unbelievers are attacking you, then you have to fight back. What does the law say about offensive jihad? It says that some Muslims somewhere ought to do it, but provided some Muslims somewhere are doing it, no other Muslims have to do it. In other words, yes, a certain element of offensive jihad is inherent in the religion.
But you can minimize it easily if you want to. You can also maximize it. Is it in the Koran that it [jihad] can be preemptive or offensive? There are certain passages the medieval scholars always cite, saying they show jihad should be offensive.
On the basis of the Koran alone you could mount a decent argument for saying offensive jihad is never a duty. From things the prophet said or is said to have said, Islamic law develops the doctrine that it is a duty but, as I say, a duty you can minimize.
The other question here is that of coercion. Jihad means you go out and conquer people. The basic answer is no. This is straightforward in the case of Jews and Christians, because everybody recognizes that Jews and Christians, provided they submit to the Islamic state, can have a protected status in which they carry on being Jews and Christians.
They still have to follow certain stipulations, and you could argue about the small print, but the basic conception is very clear. There is also a strong stream of Islamic law that says that you can give the same protected status to any unbeliever with the single exception of Arab pagans. So when you go and conquer India, you can give the Hindus protected status.
But the Muslims who actually conquered large parts of India adhered to the school that said no problem tolerating Hindus. Actually forcing people to convert is a different question. I can remember one medieval scholar who says forced conversions are the best thing ever: That view does exist. Given how intimately and radically connected church and state are in Islam, is it just wishful thinking on the part of the West that we can impose, or at least lead, the Arab Muslim world into accepting our post-Enlightenment ideas of political structure — i.
Would it not be the case that the Islamists are right: The more to which Muslim populations come to accept Western ideas of liberal democracy, the less truly Islamic they are? This is an argument that in principle would extend to Jews and Christians. Let me give you an analogy. If you go back something like years and take Catholicism and Catholic anti-modernism — who was that pope in the first two decades of the 20th century who launched an anti-modernist crusade that said the church can have no truck with the corrupt values of the modern world?
The Syllabus of Errors. The Syllabus of Errors, exactly. That was the last error on the list and the culmination of the list.
How and Why Muhammad Made a Difference
When I tell this to my undergraduates in the early 21st century, and quite a few of them are Catholics, this sounds really bizarre. It corresponds to nothing in their experience. There are some questions about whether the Catholic hierarchy should be telling Catholics not to vote for certain people.
For all I know, in another years, the idea of an incompatibility between Islam and democracy will be equally bizarre. Do we have to wait years? Just how will they do it? But in your account, that was there from the beginning with Islam, and it is inherent to the nature of the religion.
What mechanisms could there be [in the Islamic tradition] for a reformation? If you look at the European and the Christian Reformation, it ushered in a period of extraordinary bloodshed and fanaticism. It was not nice in the ways we like a political system to be nice. It is true Islam is unlike Christianity in not having this fundamental church-state dichotomy written into the original scriptures.
Instead, if you look back to the beginnings, you have this unity of religion and politics. But for most of Islamic history, that unity did not exist. Let us make a distinction between two ideas being logically or doctrinally compatible, and two ideas being able to live together in the minds of messy, incoherent humans. For most of Islamic history, some degree of recognition of a distinction between church and state was present and, therefore, could be again. The problem seems that, in the present epoch, Islamic fundamentalism is on a high horse.
That necessarily gives the moral high ground to the view that religion and politics are inseparable. I would see a major change coming about not through people thinking up clever arguments. You can always think up clever arguments from a heritage that will get anywhere you want. But the fundamental thing that would have to change is Islamic fundamentalism would have to either be discredited or at least become much less appealing than it is at the present day.
We did have the French scholar Gilles Kepel speak here a couple of years ago on this very question. Will that be in 10 years or a hundred years? Do you think Kepel is right that radical Islamic fundamentalism is actually going down rather than up? He has made a case, and he may be right, but I would prefer to wait another 10 or 15 years — laughter — before saying something on the record. So the short answer is — MR.
Kepel knows a great deal and is not a frivolous commentator. If he says that it is on the wane, then that is a serious possibility we have to consider. The question is, how long is it going to take? I bet in years Islamic fundamentalism will have gone way down. When you talk to Muslims in the Arab world, you quickly realize there is an awareness — from the lowliest peasant up to the political scientist — that there was once greatness.
This seems to inform the anger and resentment and humiliation felt in the Arab world: That they were once great, they are no more, and clearly someone is to blame, and it is probably us. You said Muhammad found a way to unify the Arabs, to pull them together and lead them to this greatness. Can you talk about how Muhammad did that, or how you believe this was achieved, since this is clearly an aim with Osama bin Laden, the restoration of the caliphate and Sharia law and an Islamic world?
A while back I was reading a book about liberation theology in Venezuela and Colombia, and there was a chapter describing some particular village in Venezuela. This priest —was he a Jesuit? He starts to do social work in an environment where none of the locals trust each other but if they could get together, they could do great things.
By virtue of being somebody with a transcendental authority, this Jesuit — or whatever he was — was able to use his authority to create trust in the community. It may not have mattered much what liberation theology actually said. He got them together to organize social projects that actually worked and did things for them. Muhammad had a hard time getting his Meccans and Medinans to trust each other, but eventually they did.
It is political engineering based on a transcendental mandate you can sell to people. Do you think another figure could arise out of this crucible of Islamic fundamentalism and extremism around the world; another figure that might unify Muslims again, not in the same sense as Muhammad but in a similar way? I can imagine somebody acquiring immense moral authority, but to convert that into political authority is something else because you bump up against the geopolitics of the situation.
The only example I can think of in modern items is a bad example: He built up tremendous moral authority for himself in Iran, and he would have liked to project that authority onto the rest of the Islamic world. But the moment Khomeini tried to exert his moral and political authority in neighboring countries, the people in power in those countries got worried because Iran is a big country in that neighborhood.
They have to think of him as the boss of a rival outfit. They have to think geopolitically. At one stage, people had the sense it was one big movement. They were all together on the same page. Then the Russians and Chinese fell out, then the Chinese and Vietnamese; in other words, geopolitics took over. My guess would be that geopolitics would take over in this case, too. I wanted to ask about the state of Islamic studies in American universities. At the time, I thought many universities were not prepared to deal with this and that the level of scholarship was not mature enough.
Let me try to answer without taking swipes at the people I dislike locally in my own university.
How and Why Muhammad Made a Difference | Pew Research Center
My sense is that level of demand has fallen off a bit but not drastically, so this was the window of opportunity for a small, rather despised field to get in there and be mainstream. At Princeton we now have about three or four times as many undergraduate students who are interested in taking Arabic. Persian, Turkish; forget it. I had one student who announced as a freshman she planned to take Arabic so she could become a spy. Many people change their minds. That could be her cover. Then there is the analytical side of the field.
The beginnings of Islam, yes, that can get hot, but all those centuries in between, nobody gets that excited about them. There you find a real tendency towards polarization in the field.
On the philo-Islamic side, you have two categories of people. But you do get academics who feel in this very American way they have to represent an ethnical religious constituency. For example, I can refer to NYU. At the other extreme you have a few neo-cons and people inclining towards that end of the spectrum. But neo-cons are a sparse phenomenon in the academic world in general.
In terms of who persecutes who, my own experience is it tends to be the leftists who persecute the neo-cons in the academic environment. There are two fundamental problems of the field as I see it now. One, this boom of interest is different from the boom in East Asian or Japanese studies 15 or 20 years ago. That is a healthy combination. Instead there is oil and a lot of poverty.
This is not a solid basis for a buildup of interest. And of course China is a rising star. The other problem, as I see it — and I spend enormous amounts of time sitting on search committees — is that good people are scarce in the field, particularly under current market conditions. Can you tell me three scholars who study Islam in America whose work you respect? I find a tremendous amount of both politicization and scholarly un-readiness.
If I had a question about Salafis — the Saudi strain of Islamic fundamentalists and also Salafis in other parts part of the world — the first person I would go to would be Bernard Haykel who is currently at NYU.
He combines knowledge of the pre-modern tradition and history with hands-on research on Salafis of the present day. When you were showing the coins, you were focusing on one aspect of it — the coin bite, how they spread religion. But the other thing I was struck by was: It replaces the picture with words. Did the cartoon riots have their origins that far back in Islam?
They have two origins that go pretty far back. One is a prohibition of images. Are they all prohibited or just some?
The consensus is if any image is forbidden, it is images that depict humans. Depicting a human is already extremely questionable, and depicting the prophet is a whole lot worse than depicting any other human.
Let me back up here. Why are images prohibited?
Is it an anti-pagan thing? But the underlying anxiety is idolatry; that once you have images, people are going to worship them. To come back to the previous question: Defaming or slandering the prophet is a very serious offense; in Islamic law it incurs the death penalty.
The cartoons, in addition to depicting the prophet, were clearly insulting. The cartoonists did a pretty good job of covering all bases there. What did he do?
What his life like? Were there signs he would be a leader? Was he a charismatic person? In spite of the prohibition on images, do we have any sense of what he looked like?
To take the last point first: Yes, of course, the tradition tells us he was handsome. In addition, we get detailed descriptions of his features and body build. There are stories about his birth that explain how at the moment when he was born supernatural events took place. His mother saw the castles of Syria by magic illumination.
You have a lot of supernatural dimension to the birth of the prophet, and later on, various things happen. Did any of that really happen? Your guess is as good as mine. The other part of your question: Do we get a credible sense of his character as opposed to just the fact that he had all virtues? I think I read his biography of Muhammad. I have never had any doubts about his existence. I have held some heretical views in the past about what he did — MR.
He confused you with someone else, then, about that point? There are some early non-Islamic sources that suggest that, in its origins, Islam was closer to Judaism for longer than the traditional account indicates. That essentially was the nature of my heresy. You agree with that account? Let me preface my question by saying that among Jews, although Moses is the highest and most nearly perfect prophet, there are still extensive discussions of his imperfections and his errors, at least one of which was serious enough to deprive him of his ultimate objective.
It is a matter of some cultural significance that Moses is depicted as an imperfect human being, although the highest prophet. That raises some interesting questions: Are there, in the Hadith, for example, any stories pointing towards his imperfections or serious errors of judgment? But my larger question has to do with the monotheistic triad. You pointed out that the Constantinian tradition was a latecomer in Christianity.
Rabbinic Judaism, and in particular Jewish law, developed in circumstances of political marginality and powerlessness. Therefore, Jewish law is not really public law.
When the issue arose, in the founding of Israel, as to whether Jewish law should be the law of the state, there were people who took that position, but the realists won out; namely, that it is impossible to turn this into a body of public law. That decision has created the basic structure of legal argumentation in Israel ever since. What strikes me as so important about Islam, and so distinctive, is that it is law that developed in circumstances of political majority and political power and not political marginality.
That re-raises the question of whether Islamic law, authentically understood, can be private law, or does it inherently tend to be public law backed by the coercive power of the state? Let me raise two examples here for you to comment on.
- Can Muslims be friends with Jews and Christians?
- Christianity and Judaism
- The relationship between Muslim men and their beards is a tangled one
The first is the idea of religious liberty, out of which liberal democracy developed; namely, that you may change your religion, and the state may not intervene to prevent you. As I understand it, Islam has a different view of the matter. It is not clear to me that Islamic law can accommodate the core of what the West believes to be non-negotiable on that question. When I was responding on the character of the prophet, I should have addressed that issue you raised about perfection and prophethood.
The prophet in the earlier sources — the Koran and early biographical accounts, and also in the Hadith — is not depicted as a perfect human being. There are clear passages in the Koran where God is telling off his prophet: Allegory of Salvation by Antonius Heusler ca. This plan was conceived by God consequent on the Fall of Adam, the progenitor of the human race, and it would be completed at the Last Judgmentwhen the Second Coming of Christ would mark the catastrophic end of the world.
Christians believe that Jesus' death on the cross was the once-for-all sacrifice that atoned for the sin of humanity. Taken in its widest sense, as deliverance from dangers and ills in general, most religions teach some form of it. It assumes an important position, however, only when the ills in question form part of a great system against which human power is helpless.
Salvation is made possible by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesuswhich in the context of salvation is referred to as the " atonement ". While some of the differences are as widespread as Christianity itself, the overwhelming majority agrees that salvation is made possible by the work of Jesus Christ, the Son of Goddying on the cross.
Christian faith is faith in the God of salvation revealed in Jesus of Nazareth. The Christian tradition has always equated this salvation with the transcendent, eschatological fulfillment of human existence in a life freed from sin, finitude, and mortality and united with the triune God. This is perhaps the non-negotiable item of Christian faith. What has been a matter of debate is the relation between salvation and our activities in the world.
The story is set against the background of the history of God's people and reaches its climax in the person and work of Christ.