The Second Commandment is to love thy neighbor as you would love yourself. According to Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, in his book, What is Right About Islam, (referred to and discussed in a prior Blog – Part 39 – Cordoba House, and in Part 40 – An Open Letter to Imam Rauf) he says this is a “Core Islamic Value” which overlaps with Judaism and Christianity. The 1st Commandment is to love God (in his case Allah) with all your heart, mind and soul. The second:
“To love our neighbors – that is, our fellow human beings – regardless of race, religion, or cultural background as we love ourselves.” (pg. 1)
Let us explore this concept for religious purposes. In the Bible this commandment is noted in Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 19:19, Luke 10:27, Romans 13:9, Galatians 5:14, and James 2:8. Mark 12:32-33 reads:
32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
I did not find a specific reference in the Quran to love of neighbor as oneself. I can only conclude that the Bible, as a linkage to the Abrahamic lineage, is thus referenced by Imam Rauf in his claim. However Sura 4:36 is an approximation. Clearly if a neighbor is a parent or next of kin (family – of a Muslim) then be good to them. Similarly be good to the needy and neighbors of your kin. Traveling companions are to be treated well (which may not have been a consideration for the shoe or underwear bombers – maybe they did not read nor were taught the Quran), and then it does include ‘aliens.’ From this the Imam sees the charity of Islam extended to a neighbor, the ‘alien’, but there is no concept of ‘Love’ expressed. There is silence as to ‘loving’ an alien as a neighbor, or as oneself.
For study purposes the Bible’s book of Genesis speaks of Ishmael, the son of Abram, from whom the lineage of Arab nations is linked, came prior to the experiences of Moses and the revelation from God of the Commandments. It was a command from God to his chosen people, those beneficiaries of the covenant, the promises, of God to Abraham and his son, Isaac, from whose ‘seed’ descendents would also enjoy the promise. Moses was of that seed. We know of no historical event whereby the descendents of Ishmael were recipients of God’s revelations until of course Muhammad came along. Except, that is, as Gentiles they too are part of the mystery whereby Jews and Gentiles, all mankind, are beneficiaries of God’s promises and the salvation assured when believing in Christ as savior. But much of the Quran is rooted in the disciplines imparted on those chosen. Now Muhammad and the Quran claim Ishmael as the one chosen by Allah, and, thus, not Isaac. In this regard the Muslims would contend the Bible is in error. But how so when so much that follows for all mankind is given to the chosen people from and through Abraham’s son Isaac and his descendents? Even the Quran Sura 10:94 suggests the Truth is revealed in the Bible directly from the Lord.
Who is My Neighbor?
A question asked is answered in Luke 10:29-39. In this story provisions are made by a Samaritan for an innkeeper to care for one who had been robbed, beaten, and left for dead, avoided then by two religious leaders – with excuses possible due to their practices. Aide was given and payment was provided along with assurances that if further funds were needed to care for the victim they would be provided. Then the verse says:
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
What is Love?
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” ( 1 John 4:10-11 ).
This love is not limited to those of ones tribe, or clan, or sect, or religious belief, or parental heritage, or wealth, or status, or position of authority. It is as love for neighbor as for self.
The Imam is in a ‘da’wa’ state, soft selling Islam as peaceful. By using associations with Jews and Christians, and Bible references, and their proclamation of love for fellow-man Imam Rauf, and others, attempt to make Muslims appear loving towards non-Muslims. Yet, not so, he is hiding their nature of deceit, possibly even being deceitful in what he writes, all to advance Islam. This is Taqiyya and permitted by the Quran. Muslims are free from liability for lying to non-believers, expressed in the Quran – Sura 9:3. If the end justifies the means, then lying, even failing to observe oaths taken, is just fine.
We must be careful as children of God, if all of the same God, that ‘truth’ prevail. To practice deceit, falsehood, and treachery either by word or action, it is the exact opposite of truth. The sanctity of truth is fundamental in moral and ethical teaching since it is based on the nature and character of God. From the Bible: “God is not man, that he should lie.” (Num 23:19). As believers we rely on – “the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness— a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time.” (Titus 1-2), and ” it is impossible for God to lie.” (Heb. 6:18), providing reaffirmation of God’s promise and oath to Abraham and the chosen people (all mankind). As said by Stephen J. Bramer (Lie, Lying, Baker Evangelical Dictionary) “Therefore, to despise truth is to despise God, and the Scriptures treat this topic with profound seriousness. ”
American Muslims – Silent
What is our experience with American Muslims, those I have often called ‘moderates.’ In our good-natured and accepting way Americans consider all person of reason as ‘good.’ Their goodness dominating their being more than evil – unless they are of a criminal mind or without a soul. If I may express a concern it is as to the lack of American Muslims taking a stance against mainstream (radical Islam) Muslims in this Country. We are a free nation. The American Muslims can burn American flags and not be prosecuted. We are people-friendly (possibly to a fault). Women are treated fairly. In America hands are not severed for stealing. Adultery is not punished by ‘stoning.’ Gender restrictions on schooling does not exist. We desire all residents to be literate and strive to make that happen. American Muslims, all Americans, can condemn America in fact. Our freedoms, our freedom of speech and religion, protecting those speaking out as well as all of us, is our cornerstone, as long as our Nation’s security and safety for all its citizens is assured. So then why, why are American ‘moderate’ Muslims not more vocal in opposing organizations that, using the religion of Islam as a cover, strive to deny America’s freedoms and keep the Muslims packaged in the box legislated by ‘Sharia’. Why do they themselves not reveal the obvious deception. In this Country they will not be condemned for doing so; they will be protected by our national security. They will be protected if they find a new path, a new religion, to follow, even explore. They represent a voice of 5 or 6 million that could be defending their choice of America as a place to live and practice their faith. Are they afraid and if so, afraid of what. If not afraid, are they then deceiving us all; their fellow Americans. Muslims are not the victims; we of the West are the victims. Can’t they support that fact. Why do they support,and not speak out against subversive groups such as CAIR, IAP, and representative groups of Hamas, Hezbollah and Al Qaeda in America. What am I missing?
As Americans are we weak? Is our government weak and incapable of protecting us against the goals of the Islamization of the world? When are actions going to be taken to stop militant training camps within our borders? When are actions going to be taken to stop education, subversive and hate against our Nation, conducted in mosques and madrassas in America. We pulled out of Lebanon when we were attacked; we have turned our head on events taking place killing Christians in Nigeria, Darfur, Indonesia, Bangladesh, the Sudan and many other locals. We failed to defend ourselves against attacks such as the USS Cole (2000), the Khobar Tower bombings in Saudi Arabia, various Embassy bombings (like the one in Tanzania (1998)), the Lockerbie, Scotland bombing of PanAm 103, and so on. Are we going about it correctly now in Iraq and Afghanistan? I don’t know, but I do know that by allowing a Mega-Mosque to be built with Saudi money, or any Muslim dollars, we are allowing a symbol of America’s weakness and the growing strength of Islam as a world boundary, not a country boundary, to be placed in our midst.
The Cordoba House will be a tribute to the war Islam, the mainstream culture, is mounting against the West, and all democracies. This is not what America needs.
We pray for a world where religions can coexist and practice their faith openly and where tolerance is a reflection of ‘love of neighbor’. Where ideologies exist that operate using deceit, defying truth, to suppress freedom and gain control of the minds of those living under conditions as God never intended, actions must be taken to refute, condemn, and police such states from arising upon the shore of democracies. Leadership that understands and responds appropriately to protect all people and not cater to a few, knowing the truth and insuring that such truth prevails, is necessary. God (not Allah) will protect those that have faith in their savior, such salvation assured, but the world as a whole needs to be informed, equipped and protected from munitions gathered in the wrong hands and aimed at innocent peoples.
Love Your Neighbor
Know how you love yourself, your God, and love your neighbor accordingly. Whether Jew, Christian, Mormon, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Atheist or an unknown is it possible to love as oneself. A worthy goal, a goal that would accede to peace. There will be differences between peoples, from skin color, ethnic origins to family religion. Many denominations exist within the belief systems of today. 100% sameness is not achievable, but love of neighbor can be. We all must try, and if ‘striving’ is a condition of our personal inner strength, then ‘striving’ for love of all neighbors should be a paramount objective. In loving, though, we also respect and make the effort to avoid any appearance of doubt as to actions taken that could suggest anything other than ‘love’.
Grace and peace,