January 29, 2017

Friends, 

I just started reading a wonderful book recommended by one of our parishioners. It is in response to questions raised at our discussion group. The book is titled “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus (A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity)” by Nabeel Queeshi. Like many Catholics, I have read about the Muslim religion, but have a hard time grasping exactly what it represents. As a result, many are very suspect of their beliefs. I am writing this on Sunday, Jan 22nd and hopefully will have finished the book by the time you are reading this. 

I can tell this book is going to be very informative and I am already passionate about the opportunity to accompany this young man on his spiritual journey. 

Some basic beliefs I already know: There are 5 Pillars of Islam: They recite “There is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is His messenger,” they pray the Muslim ritual prayers 5 times daily, they pay obligatory alms to the poor, they fast during Ramadhan, and they make an annual pilgrimage to Mecca. They also have 6 articles of faith: “We believe in the one God Allah, we believe in the unseen spiritual beings, we believe that Allah sent prophets into this world, we believe that he gave sacred scriptures to his prophets, we believe that there will be a day of judgment, and we believe that Allah’s decree is sovereign over the universe.” I have already discovered that there is a lot of diversity in Islam as there is in Judaism and Christianity. 

I am now going to quote a paragraph about the Quran (their Bible). “Muslims believe that every single word of the Quran was dictated verbatim by Allah, through the Archangel Gabriel, to Mohammed. The Quran is therefore not only inspired at the level of meaning, but at the deeper level of the words themselves. For this reason, the Muslims do not consider the Quran translatable. If it is rendered in any language other than Arabic, it is not Quran but rather an interpretation of the Quran. A book can be a true Quran only if it is written in Arabic. 

As you know well from my past writings, I do not believe that any religion can capture God. God is beyond organized religion. We are all attempting to discover who God is and how we best make God’s presence known in the world. It can be a very complicated process. My simple solution and one that works for me is, “If something unites us it is of God, if it does not unite us, it is not of God.” This statement justifies my belief in Christ as “of God.” 

Why not pick up the book? 

Enjoy Life! 
Fr. Ron Coyne

 

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