There’s an amusing children’s tale about an abandoned lion cub that goes in search of his identity. He met by a mouse that convinces him that he is a rodent based on certain similarities they share. The cub starts behaving like a mouse until he subsequently meets another animal who a apprises him of his error, but then proceeds to convince him that he is actually something else, and the cycle continues. While this story might seem hilarious, real – life is often more bizarre than fiction.
The Seattle Times reports that a Rev. Anne Holmes Reading, an African – American, has laid claim to being both 100% Muslim and Christian – at the same time. When questioned as to how this was possible she replied; “I am both Muslim and Christian just like Im both American of African descent and a woman. I’m 100% of both.”
Ms Reading is not the first person in her attempt to create such religious hybrid. Ml Manzoor Nomani (A.R), in his book Din and Shariah, has made mention of Pundit Sundar Lalji who claimed to be both a Muslim and devout Hindu. Prior to him Mirza Husayn Ali, founder of Bahaism, attempted to do the same with all of the world’s major religions. In fact, the Quraish of Mecca Shareef had forwarded a similar proposal to the Prophet (S.A.W) which occaisned the revelation of Surah Kaafiroon.
Why would someone want to reconcile the impossible anyway? Ms. Reading explains herself: “At the most basic level I understand the two religions to be compatible”, she also states: “Coming into Islam was like coming into family with whom I’d been estranged. We have not only the same God but the same ancestor with (sic) Abraham”.
Noble sentiments? Indeed, but let’s not forget the very apt English adage, ‘the pathway to hell is paved with good intentions’. The Quranic world–view on this matter is extremely explicict. The Quraan Kareem speaks:
The only religion (acceptable) to Allah is Islam (3:19)
O believers! Do not take the Jews and Christians as your friends of each other. And whosoever from amongst you befriends them then definitely he is from amongst them (5:51)
And the Jews and Christians will never ever be happy with you until you follow their way (2:120)
And for you (O believers) is your religion and for me is mine (109:6)
O believers enter into (Islam) completely (2:208)
The Nabi (S.A.W.) was also very vigilant about this, once becoming extremely angry with Umar (R.A) for merely perusing the Torah. In fact, the blessed Nabi (S.A.W) even went to the extent of preventing his followers from solely fasting on those days deemed sanctimonious by other religions.
The above sampling of warnings from the Quraan and Sunnah should serve as a deterrent against the current trend of inter faith rallies which, alas, has become the flavours of the month not only amongst a certain sector of the public but a few scholars as well. It was through such a meeting that Ms. Reading first developed her ideology after all. These rallies – cum – meetings, work off the premises that in order to facilitate mutual empathy no religion can claim superiority over the other. All apparent differences can either be explained or ignored all together.
Islam is a very unique religion – unrepentantly so. It has drawn very clear lines in the sands, distinctly separating itself from anything foreign to it, despite outward similarities to the contrary. Any attempt to blur these lines can only lead to an impaired vision of right and wrong. Just ask the lion cub!