FMC Blog: Free Speech Zone

This Christmas Happy Hanukkah and a Prosperous Eid

This year, the three Abrahamic religions celebrate important holidays in the same month. For Jews, it is Hanukkah, for Christians, it is Christmas and for Muslims, it is the Grand Eid.

The Free Muslims Coalition feel it's important to explain the significance of the three holidays to focus on our commonalities rather than our differences.

Holiday of Sacrifice

The least known of the three holidays among Americans is the largest Muslim holiday which is abbreviated as "Eid."� Actually "Eid"� simply means "holiday"� in Arabic and thus, in Arabic speaking countries, Eid is also used for Christmas and Hanukka. Thus, Christmas becomes "Christmas Eid"� and Hanukka, "Hanukka Eid."�

The most important Muslim holiday is known in Arabic as "Eid al Aldha"� which translates to "Holiday of Sacrifice."� This holiday celebrates the Muslim patriarch, Abraham, his family and his example. Abraham is also the patriarch of Christianity and Judaism which makes this holiday season especially important for Muslims as it provides them an opportunity to focus on their similarities with Jews and Christians, rather than their differences.

This time of year, Muslims remember the life of Abraham and his unconditional love for God. Currently, millions of Muslims from around the world are performing the once in a life time pilgrimage to Mecca where they celebrate and follow the steps of Abraham and his family. Muslims believe that it was in Mecca where Abraham opened the first house for the worship of the one and only true God. The Eid of Sacrifice centers around God's commandment to Abraham to sacrifice his own son. Abraham chose to obey God, but as he raised his hand to sacrifice his son, an angel stopped him and God provided Abraham with a lamb to sacrifice instead. This Abrahamic story is the single most important event in Islamic history. Abraham represents the two most important concepts in Islam, monotheism and submission to the will of God. In fact, "Islam"� is an Arabic word meaning "submission."�

The Holiday of Sacrifice is a very festive and happy holiday for Muslims. It is common during this holiday for Muslims to purchase large quantities of lamp and divide the meat among their neighbors or the poor.

Hanukkah

Recently Jews celebrated Hanukka which is also known as the "Holiday of Lights." Hanukka is an eight-day Jewish holiday which started on the 25th of Kislev, a month on the Hebrew calendar that falls in November or December. This year, Hanukkah began on Dec. 5, and ended on December 13th.

The holiday originated when Jews in Jerusalem fought and took their Holy Temple from the Greeks. The rededication of the temple included the lighting of a menorah with oil that was expected to last only one day. The oil lasted for eight days while patrons searched for more oil and this is why Hanukkah is an eight-day celebration.

Hanukkah means "dedication" in Hebrew and the traditional item is the lighting of a menorah, a seven-branch candlestick lit by olive oil, often said to symbolize the prophet Moses and the burning bush from Exodus 25. Here again, is an event that is shared by all three religions. The burning bush from Exodus 25 is not exclusive for Jews and Christians. The burning bush is an extremely important event in Islamic history and theology and thus, the Hanukkah Eid can certainly be a source of harmony and appreciation between Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Christmas

"Christmas"� was created from the words "Christ's mass," which signified the birth of Jesus Christ who was born through an immaculate conception to the virgin Marry.

While Christmas has always been an important holiday, it was not celebrated as it is today until the early 1800s, when Washington Irving published "The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon" and Charles Dickens published "A Christmas Carol." After these stories stuck in the hearts of Americans, the themes began to come together with Christian beliefs and the Renaissance reputation of Saint Nicholas. The saint's popularity transitioned into the embodiment of the red and white Santa Claus in the 1840s and the holiday has only grown in significance ever since. Christians celebrate Christmas by attending Christian masses, large meals, gift giving and family gatherings.

Christmas can also be a source of unity for Christians, Muslims and Jews. As mentioned above, Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ to the Virgin Marry. The Virgin Marry is the most important woman in Islam. She is second to none. Moreover, both Christians and Jews believe that Jesus was Jewish. Muslims believe that Jesus is a descendent of "Bani Israeel,"� an Arabic term that means the "children of Israel"� which means he is a descendent of the Israelites. This is a technical difference that is not significant for this discussion. What is important is that both Christians and Muslims believe that Jesus is their Messiah and that he will return one day. It is certainly a source of unity and affinity that the Messiah of Christians and Muslims is considered a Jew by one and an Israelite by the other.

It should be noted that the Free Muslims Coalition understands that the above chronology and history have been used as a source of conflict. The point here is that we can focus on our differences or our similarities. The Free Muslims believe that the world would be a better place if we focus on our similarities.

Happy holidays and may God bless us all. Amen.

Posted December 17, 2007 by Kamal Nawash

Comments

Jews and Christians believe the son Abraham was asked to sacrifice was Isaac, not Ishmael.

Christians celebrate Jesus Christ as the Son of God in human flesh, who died on the cross for the sins of humankind, and was raised on the third day.

Muslims, with all their respect for Jesus, don't allow Muslims to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. In many instances, they have been killed by their own family.

It is disingenuous and misleading to write as if these are not very significant differences.

Christians' respect for Jews and Muslims is based in the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ died for all, including those who currently do not accept Him for whom He is. We pray for their conversion. He loves all.

Posted December 18, 2007 by John Becker

Posted December 18, 2007 by Isidor Farash (a.k.a. Cornelious Trollstein, PhD.)

Isidor

Muslims consider Jesus their Messiah. Where they differ from Christians is that Muslims don't believe Jesus was the son of God. From a Muslims Prospective, he was a messenger and a prophet. Jews don't recognize Jesus because he came after the Torah.

Muslims see Jesus as one of the four primary messengers of God. Abraham, Mosses, Jesus and Mohammad.

Happy Hanukkah and may we both pray in Jerusalem one day.

Posted December 18, 2007 by Buraq

Posted December 18, 2007 by Mohammad

Hi,
When I read what is written here, I cannot understand why there is ever a problem between our three religions.
You are correct. We need to focus on our similarities.

I will consider a donation (not easy at the current time) because I totally support you.

Kind regards,

Posted December 18, 2007 by Nancy

This holiday message is deft, beautiful, and brilliant.

Onward--

Posted December 18, 2007 by Howard

Mohammad:
Thanks for the nice note.
You wrote:
"Jews don't recognize Jesus because he came after the Torah"
I do not exactly agree.
The fact that Christians consider Jesus literally 1/2 God is no small technical difference. This belief empowers an entire range of other practices, not recognized by any other religion on earth. Included in this list is the absolute infallibility of the Pope, who is supposed to have Christ's authority (passed down) on Earth.
As for the Jews:
They (like Muslims) certainly do not recognize anyone as 1/2 God and 1/2 man.
The question therefore is . . . do Jews recognize Jesus as a divine prophet? If the answer would be yes, then, the fact he came after the Torah would not be relevant as numerous prophets appear and reappear in Jewish history at least one is still expected.
After the Romans nearly wiped out the Jews in 65-CE and again in 134-CE, the only population of Jews who survived were the Pharisees, (technically pronounced "Farashes" as Greek has no "sh" syllable). All modern Rabbinical teaching derives from these Pharisees.
The New Testament (Greek Scriptures) does not speak well of the Pharisees. In dozens of places, they are condemned as "liars" and "evil priests". Why then is it any surprise that the surviving Jews do not recognize Christian liturgy (and therefore Jesus) as a Divine prophet? If your next-door neighbor wrote of you as a dishonest criminal, are you going to campaign for his election as sheriff?
Salam

Posted December 18, 2007 by Isidor Farash (a.k.a. Cornelious Trollstein, PhD.)

Isador,

I agree that Jesus is not half or even one tenth God. He is 100% man.

The reason Jews don't accept him is because he is not mentioned in any of the Jewish scriptures and that makes sence.

Similarly, Christians recognize all the Jewsih figures and prophits because they came before the New Testament and Christians believe in the old testament.

Christians and Jews don't belive in Mohammad because he is not mentioned in the Old or New Testament. That makes sence. However, Muslims recognize all the Jewsih and Christain figures because Muslims believe in the Old and the New Testament.

In other words the three religions believe in what came before them but not what came after them.

Posted December 18, 2007 by Mohammad

Posted December 18, 2007 by Tim

Posted December 19, 2007 by Isidor Farash פרש

Let us rejoice that we live in a country where we are free to find and serve our Creator on our own terms, that we may live peacably among each other, and invite one another to our celebrations without concern for our safety or even social well-being. There is nothing wrong with differing beliefs as long as we are in a place where we may freely and civilly exchange our thoughts and perspectives, for NO ONE has a monopoly on Truth. The important point here is that we can have wildly different ideas on who our Creator is, but we call each-other (and treat each-other) as brothers and sisters of a kind family. And anyone who wishes to take away our civility and peace is the enemy.

Whatever tenets we follow, be they religious, political, or personal, let us remain with each other with hope and compassion. I thank you, Mr. Nawash, for your attempt to remind us that most Muslims are peace-loving, and wish us ALL who practice our own faiths of kindness, Muslim or not, love within our own homes. My only wish is that more Muslims speak out on their desire to live peaceably and respectably among those of other faiths, and to condemn those who would wish death on the "infidels."

Posted December 19, 2007 by Nathaniel

Isidor

I don't disagree with much of what you say except one thing. You said that Muslims only have one contemporary Prophet, Mohammad. This is a misconception made by many non-Muslims.

Islamic theology teaches that God introduced his message in stages. First the Torah then the Bible and then the Koran. Islamic theology teaches there is no difference between Moses, Jesus or Mohammad. It is a sin in Islam to place Mohammad ahead of Moses or Jesus for example.

Muslims believe that all the Jewish prophets are also their prophets. This is why Muslims don't care whether they are decedents of Isaac or Ishmael. They love them equally because they are considered among Islam's prophets.

Another example, is any story in the Torah where the Israelites are fighting someone. Modern day Muslims would be cheering for the Israelites (Jews) because in Islam those Israelites would also be considered Muslims since they submitted to the will of God and the others are idol worshipers. Moreover, those early Jews from a modern Muslim perspective would be considered the good guys and their predecessors in religion.

It would take me for ever to explain this theory so I am going to stop now and hope that what I said makes scenes.

Posted December 19, 2007 by Mohammad

I agree in that Muslims recognizes all Prophets,that is what G'd has revealed to us and to what was revealed to Abraham,Ismail,Isacc,Jacob,and the tribes,and in the books given to Moses,Jesus and the Prophets from thier Lord.It seems that in all of our Holy Books Abraham's heritage was that of idol worshippers in that that was the practiced of his father.Do we forget the legacy of Abraham.the religion of Abraham was his complete submission the Will Of G'd and that he join not partners with G'd.It was Faith and soundness in character.This is to say that this lineage we all claim comes from one man's Faith in One True G'd which HIS Prophets and Messengers all formed one Brotherhood.
The Brotherhood of Truth is one in all ages.It is the narrow minded who ceate sects,each rejoicing in that which is with itself.

Posted December 24, 2007 by Paul

Good to see the blog up and running again. I think this is an important site it gives voice to the freedom loving Muslims out there who are not being heard nearly enough in the media. I am not Christian, Muslim, or Jewish, but I hope you all enjoy your respective holidays.

Posted December 27, 2007 by Andrew

I would hope that Muslims would, in fact, read and study the Bible (with appropriate guides and reference texts), if their claim to revere it is genuine. The Muslims I know have never picked up a Bible--considering it virtually "haram." I also find that Muslims have very flawed perceptions of Christian doctrine. And they consider the Bible to be "so corrupted and mistranslated" as to not even be worth a glance. If Muslims would really attempt to understand Christian theology, they would know that the Bible has NOT been corrupted, and that we KNOW about those efforts to "add or subtract" to it over the centuries, e.g., what was added after the 16th chapter of Mark about picking up serpents and drinking poison. The Quran has been subject to considerable "editing," whether Muslims admit it or not--a comparison of old and ancient texts bears this out. Plus, we know that certain "versions" of the Quran were destroyed centuries ago, with supposedly only one "version" surviving. In summary, I hope that those Muslims who claim to revere the Bible will actually study it. You can hardly revere something you know nothing about.

Posted December 28, 2007 by Chev. James

chev.James,You say "I would hope that the muslims would, in fact read and study the Bible(with appropriate guide reference texts)" Here you are asking the impossible. "The muslims I know have never picked up a Bible--considering it virtually "haram" not only Bible but they dare not read any other religious scriptures. I think you are right, when you say "The Quran has been subject to considerable "editing" if I ain't wrong the Quran was written about 150 years after Mohammed's death. According to Quran Muslims are forbidden to have unbelievers as friends. I read Quran and I can tell you there is noting but hate towards unbelievers. Sura 48:13 "And if any believe not in Allah and his Messenger, we have prepared for those who reject Allah, a Blazing Fire." James I suggest you and others to log on www.thereligionofpeace.com
www.faithfreedom.com www.islam-watch.org

Posted December 28, 2007 by surj

Adrew, sure," the freedom loving Muslims out there who are not being heard nearly enough in the madia" We would like to hear them out in the media, and as well on the streets of Western World cities denouncing the cruelties being committed by Muslims all over the world in the name of Islam. I ask, where are those so called moderate Muslims of the World? are there non? log on www.thereligionofpeace.com
www.faithfreedom.org

Posted December 28, 2007 by surj

mahammed, you say "Unlike Jews , muslims revere both Isaac and Ishmael equally. They don't care that one was the father of Arabs and one the father of the Jews, From muslims Prospective they were both prophets of God(p.b.u,t,b) Now tell me then why the Prophet Mohammad/Muslims from that times up to today are persecuting Jews, ie for the last 1400 years? Please, don't tell me it is because of Jews occupying Palestinian land. The way I see Islam/Muslims have nothing in common with any religion, only gullible Westerns would believe you. All other prophets did not go out raiding caravans,taking women and young boys as slaves ,killing and getting people killed like Prophrt Mohammed did.Go on now log on www.faithfreedom.org www.islam-watch.org

Posted December 28, 2007 by surj

Brother Of Yeshua, Doesnt matter how many references or quotations you give to Muslims it is next to impossible for them to see the truth. Most Muslims would have us believe that they are moderate, but yet they have failed to prove. log on www.faithfreedom.org
www.thereligionofpeace.com We have to expose Islam to every Tom,Dick and Harry in the world.

Posted December 28, 2007 by surj

This site is a con!! Suddenly a group of muslims say they have it all wrong, admit everything, then say nice things about our religions when we were all HERETICS YESTERDAY!Deceit is allowed in islam as long as it proptects the tennets...and this is very obvious deceit!
It is an attempt to be accepted as a peaceful faith allowed to infiltrate host nations in the guise of peace until there are enough muslims born to become uppermost in strength then make a take over bid in that country for islam.ISLAMIC NATIONS!
The quoran commands this..islam is NOT allowed to live side by side other faiths..it cannot live in subjection to man made laws it HAS to be dominant, it is the muslims duty to make it happen!
Islam is peaceful yeah!! But only when it has control over everyone else!!
Dont be fooled by these sites, they are as much jihad by peaceful means as any other jihad by bobms..its all designed to control.

Posted February 02, 2008 by westerner

Posted March 14, 2008 by Amany Mokaddem

Posted March 14, 2008 by Amany Mokaddem

My goodness, never have I seen so many people try to take something that is intended for good and try to reverse it into something negative.

First off, Mr. Becker, while you are accurate in your statement that Muslims believe Ishmael was to be sacraficed, where Jews and Christians believe it was Isaac, to argue it as some strong significance is not true, the story holds the same weight no matter which son.

Isodor, while your post was motivating, to encourage people to give something up is unnecessary for Eid al Aldha, save that for Ramadan :P, instead one should encourage to give more to those who have less.

Buraq, Jews do not accept Jesus because he came after Torah, most of the Prophets did... Torah ends with Moses. In fact, the Jewish book is called the Tanakh: spelled with the hebrew letters Tav, Nun, Khaf- so TNK; Torah, Nevi'im, Kethuvim, this is the order of the Tanakh (more widely known as the Old Testament, the the Old Testament has some changes) Torah means "Law", it starts with Adam and Eve, and ends with Moses. Nevi'im means "Prophets" (comes AFTER the Torah), and then Kethuvim is "Writings". Jews don't accept Jesus as their Messiah because they do not feel he fulfilled the Messianic prophesies (i.e. rebuild the temple, put an end to all war, show the whole world that the Creator is One, and bring all the Jews back to the land of their ancestors, Israel).

Mohammad, Jews might not have the same emphasis on Ishmael as they do Isaac, but that's because Isaac is their ancestor where Ishmael is not. You are your fathers seed, not your uncles. Keep in mind though, the Jews recognize that Ishmael was to be blessed with a major blessing, it is written, "I hereby bless him (Ishmael). I will make him fertile and exceedingly numerous. He shall be the father of twelve chieftains, and I will make of him a great nation." -Genesis 17:20. Then in Genesis 25:13 it even goes on to list the name of the 12 sons of Ishmael in order of birth: Nebaioth, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedmah. It tells us that though Ishmael was sent away, he returned to bury Abraham with Isaac: Genesis 25:9. So though we don't know as much of Ishmael from Hebrew texts as we do of Isaac, we can be assured that Ishmael was all but forgotten after he was sent away. He was blessed and honoured.

Isidor, I believe from what I've already said you will understand that it is more than just Jesus writing off the Pharisees as bad people that the Jews don't accept Jesus...

Mohammad, The Muslims believe the Tanakh and the New Testament were altered therefore cannot be trusted and should not be studied as books of faith... otherwise Muslims would be cuttin shellfish out their diet on top of pork :P...


Anyways, thats as far into the comments as I can be bothered to read at this time.

Shalom, Salaam, and Peace. May we all enjoy hand-in-hand unity one day

Posted July 13, 2008 by Amichai Hornstein

The Christians accept Jesus as thier messiah like God promised it through decades and decades of prophecies and Jews know the prophecies but they turn a blind eye against the way their messiah were introduced to them they want thier messiah to be knight in shinning armor who must be send down from heaven and not the way he was born and lived on earth the way God promised it.
The muslims out of no where come and Muhammed say God is not permitted to a son Jesus is only prophet second to Muhammad demoted but they are so stupid a prophet second to Muhammad and on the other hand they say Jesus is the Messiah but immam Madhi will apear before the coming of Christ who will destroy the anti-christ but the lunatic muslims themselfs is the anti-christ so Christ will destroy them because they denie that Jesus is the is the Son GOD.

Posted January 27, 2009 by Arthur