Author: Dr. Abdul Ruff
Edited by Divas
(This aritcle is written in the context of Christmas 2013)
All religions were basically invented for social justice. Prophets, rishis, saints and enlightened beings of all religions, including those of Hinduism and Buddhism, were soft hearted, asked people to keep peace among themselves, felt for the less fortunate ones and poor, and always went forward to help them in their own ways. It is, therefore, not surprising that Prophet of Islam called Jesus as his own elder brother who served the people.
Jesus (Isa Nabi) is considered a prophet in Islam. In fact, Jesus is mentioned more times in the Quran, by name, than Prophet Muhammad himself – each time in the most elevated regard. Therefore, Jesus can be the inspiration for Muslims and Christians – and for people of other faiths too, including the non-believers – to build bridges of interfaith harmony and work together for the betterment of society.
Jesus taught, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God” (Mark 10:25). Here Jesus sought to impress upon the wealthy the need to share a portion of their wealth with the poor – if they wish to enter the “Kingdom of God,” or heaven.
This teaching promotes social justice, ensuring that no person goes without the basic necessities of life, such as food, water and health care, while others enjoy the luxuries of life. Our current economy would not be likely in its degraded situation if the rich people of all faiths and even atheists were mindful of Jesus’ lesson.
South Asia, for example, has some of the most distressing and unequal economic conditions in the world. People spend plenty of money for a meal in fancy restaurants along with friends, but outside hotels, there are barefooted and emaciated beggars, pleading simply for a rupee to make enough to buy a piece of food for themselves or their children.
The number of elderly who are being cared for in nursing homes these days is remarkably high – which, in some cases can be beneficial and preferable to living, and dying, alone. Studies, however, researches show that the vast majority of elderly people prefer to spend time with their families rather than at nursing homes.
Jesus’ teachings of caring for the less-fortunate and further extended by Islam prophet Muhammad (SAS) are just a couple of the many teachings and examples of Jesus that we can use to work collectively for the social good and, in this process, improve our relations.
Although certain theological differences between Muslims and Christians will remain, basically, like all religions, both religions are meant for saving the humanity from disasters that wreck human lives as well as societies.