Muslims, Christians called to prayer
| Thursday, September 9, 2004
In response to the on-going debate surrounding Professor Tariq Ramadan, it seems important to to clarify some aspects of Islam that have been misunderstood by fearful individuals with viewpoints similar to Kathleen Sappey. In her previous editorial, Sappey suggested that had Ramadan been allowed to teach at our University, “we should all get our prayer rugs out” in expectation of his attempts to convert us. Well, this year, I showed up to Dillon Hall and discovered that the RA who lived in my room last year had left a carpet that, except for one stain, was in great condition. I put a rug to cover the spot and it ended up being placed exactly where I place my ladder to climb out of my bed. Consequently, every morning the first thing my feet hit is this rug. Due to its similarity to an Islamic prayer rug, this contact upon my waking every morning has encouraged me to submit myself to prayer as my first matter of business every day. For those unaware, “islam” is the arabic word for submission.
Although I am not familiar with Ramadan’s views, if he truly is a moderate muslim, as suggested by University in their hiring of him, then his faith bears no threat to our own. Moderate Muslims emphasize righteous living and submission to God. “Dhimmis,” or members of Abrahamic faiths that deny Muhammad as a prophet – e.g. Jews and Christians – are not encouraged to convert to Islam by moderate muslims. From the very beginning of Islam’s history, muslims have encouraged unity amongst those who claim the God of Abraham as their God. We should not fear an encouragement to pray to our God. If we truly believe the faith we profess every time we say the creed, then what have we to fear by communicating with those who also encourage submission to the Lord our God? I suggest an openness when confronting religions other than our own. As Christians, we believe a special revelation concerning the nature of God’s supernatural existence has been shown to us. Members of other faiths have similar beliefs of special revelation into the nature of the Divine. God’s radiant glory is far beyond anything our eyes can perceive. This is made clear multiple times in the Old Testament. If this is true, let us – whether Christian or Muslim – respectfully admit our humility and submit ourselves to prayer every morning, asking for deeper understanding of our Creator.