Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Take not Jews and Christians for your friends...

Can I send Christmas greetings?  Can I join in the celebrations? The authorities are no help.  On the one hand they say NO! and on the other hand our leaders are officiating Christian functions.  Then again I don't need to worry, Christmas is over and 2014 is upon us.
Some views of Jerusalem
(Image from Wikipedia)
In the Quran, verse 51 of Surah Al Maidah translates as follows: "O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors: they are but friends and protectors to each other.  And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily God guides not a people unjust." (Abdullah Yusuf Ali translation)

I do not have Jewish friends but many of my friends consider themselves Christians.  So how?

My problem often is trying to understand specific verses independently of other verses, forgetting that the Quran should be taken as a whole and that should form the basis of guidance for Muslims.  It's like taking only the beginning portion of the Muslim's Attestation of Faith (Kalimah Shahadah) i.e. "I believe that there is no god" and then going on to claim that Muslims are closet atheists. (Richard Dawkins should be pleased.)

Earlier this year I performed my Umrah/Ziarah (Lesser Pilgrimage to the Grand Masjid in Makkah and Visitation to the Prophet's Masjid in Madinah) which included a stop-over in Jordan and a visit to Jerusalem.  Talking to our guide in Amman, I could see that he was proud of the fact that his family had fought for independence from the Turks.

The Arabs wanted to free themselves from the 'yoke' of the Turks so they befriended the British and the French and sought their help and protection.  To honor the now independent Arab States, their new-found friends bestowed upon them Israel.

Today, almost every 'Muslim' State still looks up to Israel's foremost backer and protecter to make that problem go away.  I, for one, won't hold my breath waiting for that to happen.

In the meantime I'll still love all of my friends and remember them in my prayers, and Allah is my Guide.