Facebook mysteriously restored all my old notes to me yesterday. I now have access to old recipes and stuff I wrote back before I was blogging, or when I was blogging but was too lazy to click over to the other site to post. This note was one of three I wrote to try to help people approach Islam without the preconceptions that are so common. There are three notes total so I’ll post them individually:
I have found that most non-Muslims view Islam through the prism of the mainstream media. Ignorance filtered through ignorance. It is impossible to learn about Islam in this way. Even to mention Islam is to conjure up a vision of a strange “eastern” religion that is inherently other than the Christianity of the West. This is patently absurd, as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all arose out of the same soil and come from the same roots. Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad are cousins, related by blood, common language roots, and faith. People can deny it all they want, but it doesn’t change the truth.
So, how to educate a non-Muslim about Islam? Let’s take the name of Islam right out of it. Let’s come up with a name that is completely neutral and inoffensive, like, say, One-ism. Never heard of it? Good. That means you have no preconceived notions about this religion and can learn about it in its pure form, without the baggage of history. So, let me teach you about this religion, One-ism, and you tell me if it teaches lessons you can get behind. Empty your mind… empty your mind….
What is One-ism?
In its essential form, One-ism teaches that there is only One God. This is the fundamental tenet of One-ism and should be understood before you try to learn anything else. One-ism’s God is One. He has no partners. He created and sustains the universe all by Himself. He is separate from His creation – He does not “indwell” in you or me or that rock over there, or a tree or a fish. But, due to His perfect Knowledge, He is closer to us than our jugular veins. He knows everything that has happened or will happen, and nothing happens without His permission. Past, present, and future are all the same for Him – He created time, after all, and is not subject to it.
Those of us who are One-ists believe that once you understand this concept, you have to act on it. Or refrain from acting. This means that any acts of worship must be directed only at The One, and not to any of His creation. We pray directly to God, not to any prophets, saints, statues, books, or graves. We have no intercessors between us and God. This ability to worship the Creator directly frees us from the tyranny of worshipping any created being. The Creator is perfect; creation is subject to rules and regulations and thus not worthy of being worshipped. We refrain from offering prayers or sacrifices to anyone or anything that is not God. Pretty simple, huh?
Now, I don’t want to give you too big of a chunk to digest in one lesson, so I’ll stop here for now. Take the time to think about this. Is there anything that deeply offends you? Well, perhaps if you are dedicated to polytheism, you might not like the idea of One-ism. But for those from a Judeo-Christian background, this should be a fairly easy lesson for you. You may not agree if you are a Trinitarian, but you can see the logic of the argument and not be personally offended by it, or think of it as an idea that is far from the mainstream. Indeed, you will find support for One-ism in both the Tanakh and the Gospel. Go look, I’ll wait….
I’ll give you some time to think about this, and in my next missive I will talk about the position of prophets in One-ism. Prophets like Adam, and Moses, Jesus, and others. What? One-ism believes those guys were prophets? Well, yeah… but we’ll save that for next time, God willing.