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A Common Word Between Us and You

On 13 October 2007, a year after 38 Muslim scholars sent an open letter to Pope Benedict XVI, 138 Muslim religious leaders addressed an open letter and call to the pope and other leaders of the Christian churches concerning the common ground between Christianity and Islam. This landmark document, with its Quranic exegesis, boldly identifies love of the one God and love of neighbor as common and core values for Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Sponsored by Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal of the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought in Amman, Jordan, its signatories include distinguished academics, jurists and religious teachers from the worldwide Muslim community.

The complete text follows; biblical citations have been changed to the New American Bible translation and British usages, to the American.

LOVE OF GOD IN ISLAM

The Testimonies of Faith

The central creed of Islam consists of the two testimonies of faith or Shahadahs, which state, “There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God.” These two testimonies are the sine qua non of Islam. He or she who testifies to them is a Muslim; he or she who denies them is not a Muslim. Moreover, the Prophet Muhammad said, “The best remembrance is: ‘There is no god but God.’ ”

The Best That All the Prophets Have Said

Expanding on “the best remembrance,” the Prophet Muhammad also said, “The best that I have said – myself, and the prophets that came before me – is: ‘There is no god but God, He Alone, He hath no associate, His is the sovereignty and His is the praise and He hath power over all things.’ ” The phrases that follow the first testimony of faith are all from the holy Quran; each describes a mode of love of God and devotion to him.

The words, “He Alone,” remind Muslims that their hearts must be devoted to God alone, since God says in the holy Quran, “God hath not assigned unto any man two hearts within his body” (Al-Ahzab 33:4). God is absolute and therefore devotion to Him must be totally sincere.

The words, “He hath no associate,” remind Muslims that they must love God uniquely, without rivals within their souls, since God says in the holy Quran, “Yet there are men who take rivals unto God: they love them as they should love God. But those of faith are more intense in their love for God” (Al-Baqarah 2:165). Indeed, “[T]heir flesh and their hearts soften unto the remembrance of God” (Al-Zumar 39:23).

The words, “His is the sovereignty,” remind Muslims that their minds or their understandings must be totally devoted to God, for “the sovereignty” is precisely everything in creation or existence and everything that the mind can know. And all is in God’s hand, since God says in the holy Quran, “Blessed is He in Whose Hand is the sovereignty, and, He is Able to do all things” (Al-Mulk 67:1).

The words, “His is the praise,” remind Muslims that they must be grateful to God and trust Him with all their sentiments and emotions. God says in the holy Quran:

For all these bounties and more, human beings must always be truly grateful:

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