By Sadia Dehlvi
Oct 03, 2012
Prophet Mohammed never saw himself as the founder of a new religion, but the last in the chain of prophets from the lineage of Prophet Abraham. In the narrative of his flight to heaven, known as the Ascension, he encounters Moses, Jesus and other prophets common to Islam, Judaism and Christianity.
In the various layers of heaven, they share their concerns for humanity. Despite their teachings of love, peace and compassion, religious bigots unfortunately create animosity between the followers of Mohammed, Jesus and Moses.
The story of Moses, Jesus and his mother Mary are mentioned in great detail and these noble personalities are greatly revered by all Muslims. There is an entire chapter named after Mary in the Quran, and her status is more exalted than many among the prophets of Islam. In fact, Mary has more mentions in the Quran than the New Testament. Jesus is among the most exalted of prophets in Islam and Prophet Mohammed addressed him as “My brother Jesus, son of Mary”.
Mohammed and Jesus were both uncompromising in their pursuit of social justice and became voices for the oppressed. They both addressed the inequalities that prevailed during their times, speaking out for the disadvantaged and marginalised sections of society. Prophet Mohammed gave Bilal, a freed black slave, the honour of calling out the first azan, the Muslim call to prayer. The gesture was revolutionary for the time, initially upsetting many of the Prophet’s followers who came from the elite and powerful Arab tribes.
Jesus had endless compassion for the poor and the sick and so did Prophet Mohammed. Proclaiming “poverty is my pride”, the Prophet lived amongst the poor, giving them whatever little provisions he had. When he had nothing to give, he would ask his companions to provide for those in need. Both were concerned with the welfare of widows, orphans and children. Going against the established cultural norms, both Jesus and Prophet Mohammed treated women with respect and raised their dignity.
Jesus spent most of life in prayer and so did the Prophet, whose entire life revolved around prayer and devotion to God. Both believed that the best way to please God lay in establishing high moral values, and in the service of humanity.
Some radical elements are trying to prove that Islam is fundamentally opposed to Judaism and Christianity.
Such provocations should be overcome by persistent dialogue and reconciliation. The teachings of Moses, Jesus and Mohammed were inspired by the same One God with the vision to revive spiritually dead souls into God consciousness. Today, if the followers of Moses, Jesus and Mohammed are at odds, it is certainly not because of their teachings. May peace be upon Moses, Jesus and Mohammed and may their followers learn from them.