This last week 138 prominent Muslim scholars from every sect of Islam sent this letter to Pope Benedict XVI and other Christian leaders. The full text ran to 29 pages. They also issued an abridged text, which appears here in full. (Courtesy of The Guardian.)
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
A Common Word between Us and You
Muslims and Christians together make up well over half of the world’s population.
peace and justice between these two religious communities, there can be
no meaningful peace in the world. The future of the world depends on
peace between Muslims and Christians.
The basis for this peace
and understanding already exists. It is part of the very foundational
principles of both faiths: love of the One God, and love of the
These principles are found over and over again in the sacred texts of Islam and Christianity.
Unity of God, the necessity of love for Him, and the necessity of love
of the neighbour is thus the common ground between Islam and
The following are only a few examples: Of God’s
Unity, God says in the Holy Qur’an: “Say: He is God, the One! / God,
the Self-Sufficient Besought of all!” (Al-Ikhlas, 112:1-2).
the necessity of love for God, God says in the Holy Qur’an: “So invoke
the Name of thy Lord and devote thyself to Him with a complete
devotion.” (Al-Muzzammil, 73:8).
Of the necessity of love for the
neighbour, the Prophet Muhammad said: “None of you has faith until you
love for your neighbour what you love for yourself.”
In the New
Testament, Jesus Christ said: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the
Lord is One. / And you shall love the Lord your God with all your
heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your
strength. This is the first commandment./And the second, like it, is
this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other
commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)
In the Holy
Qur’an, God Most High enjoins Muslims to issue the following call to
Christians (and Jews – the People of the Scripture):
People of the Scripture! Come to a common word between us and you: that
we shall worship none but God, and that we shall ascribe no partner
unto Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside God.
And if they turn away, then say: Bear witness that we are they who have
surrendered (unto Him).” (Aal ‘Imran 3:64)
The words “we shall
ascribe no partner unto Him” relate to the Unity of God, and the words
“worship none but God”, relate to being totally devoted to God.
Hence they all relate to the First and Greatest Commandment.
to one of the oldest and most authoritative commentaries on the Holy
Qur’an the words “that none of us shall take others for lords beside
God” mean “that none of us should obey the other in disobedience to
what God has commanded”.
This relates to the Second Commandment because justice and freedom of religion are a crucial part of love of the neighbour.
in obedience to the Holy Qur’an, we as Muslims invite Christians to
come together with us on the basis of what is common to us, which is
also what is most essential to our faith and practice: the Two
Commandments of love.