People of the book – part 16

“Say, “O People of the Book, come to terms common between us and you: that we worship none but God, and that we associate nothing with Him, and that none of us takes others as lords besides God.” And if they turn away, say, “Bear witness that we have submitted.”
Holy Qur’ân 3:64

“PEOPLE OF THE BOOK” is the respectful title given to the Jews and the Christians in the Holy Qur’ân. The Muslims is here commanded to invite – “O People of the Book!” – O Learned People! O People who claim to be the recipients of Divine Revelation, of a Holy Scripture; let us gather together onto a common platform – “that we worship none but God”, because none but God is worthy of worship, not because “THE LORD THY GOD IS A JEALOUS GOD VISITING THE INIQUITY OF THE FATHERS UPON THE CHILDREN UNTO THE THIRD AND FOURTH GENERATION OF THEM THAT HATE ME.” (Exodus 20:25). But because He is our Lord and Cherisher, our Sustainer and Evolver, worthy of all praise, prayer and devotion.

In the abstract the Jews and the Christians would agree to all the three propositions contained in this Qur’ânic verse. In practice they fail. Apart from doctrinal lapses from the unity of the One True God, there is the question of a consecrated Priesthood (among the Jews it was hereditary also), as if a mere human being – Cohen or Pope, or Priest, or Brahman, – could claim superiority apart from his learning and the purity of his life, or could stand between man and God in some special sense. Islam does not recognise priesthood!

The Creed of Islam is given to us here in a nutshell from Holy Qur’ân:
“Say: “We believe in Allah, And the revelation given to us, And to Abraham, Isma’il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, And that given to Moses and Jesus And that given to (all) Prophets from their Lord: We make no difference Between one and another of them: And we bow to God .” Holy Qur’ân 2:136.
The Muslim position is clear. The Muslim does not claim to have a religion peculiar to himself. Islam is not a sect or an ethnic religion. In its view all Religion is one, for the Truth is one. It was the same religion preached by all the earlier prophets. (Holy Qur’ân 42:13). It was the truth taught by all the inspired Books. In essence it amounts to a consciousness of the Will and Plan of God and a joyful submission to that Will and Plan. If anyone wants a religion other than that, he is false to his own nature, as he isfalse to God’s will and plan. Such a one cannot expect guidance, for he has deliberately renounced guidance.