The fundamental message of the Qur’an [is] an ethical summons to practically expressed compassion: it is wrong to build a private fortune and good to share your wealth fairly and create a just society where poor and vulnerable people are treated with respect.

A Sufi monk attended our gathering last weekend…

Like any religion or philosophia, Islam [is] a way of life (din). The fundamental message of the Qur’an [is] . . . an ethical summons to practically expressed compassion: it is wrong to build a private fortune and good to share your wealth fairly and create a just society where poor and vulnerable people are treated with respect. [2]

do not worship Muhammad. He is a prophet . . . [and] because of his pure submission to God alone, [he] serves as the model of the perfect human being. His holiness lies not in his own being, but in his pointing away from himself and toward the Holy One. —Mirabai Starr [1]

There are a lot of misconceptions about Islam. Like Christianity and other religions, there is a great deal of variety within Islam. Just as not all Christians are extremists, the majority of Muslims are not terrorists. As many Christians disagree on theology and hermeneutics, so Muslims have different ways of interpreting their sacred text and tradition. Over the next week I’ll share some background, drawing from Karen Armstrong’s work, and then turn to one stream within Islam, Sufism. I hope this brief introduction will help you recognize God’s image and likeness in your Muslim brothers and sisters and learn more about their faith! 

[2] See Qur’an 92:18; 9:103; 63;9; 102:1.

[3] See Qur’an 90:13-20.

Karen Armstrong, The Case for God (Alfred A. Knopf: 2009), 99.

 

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