Friday, September 28, 2012

Muslim Peace

Dear friends in Djibouti - Dad and I met on a desert transit.

As-salamu alaikum. 

 Peace be upon you.

It's a greeting among Muslims, and the traditional response is 'and also upon you.'

If you have Muslim friends, they'll laugh and help you pronounce it, so you can use the greeting as well.

So, can we truly be at peace with one another? Is it really that easy to greet and enjoy one another across such a divide as Christian and Muslim? After all, there's a lot of turmoil today on that front, and a lot of folks we know about are working hard to widen the gap. Riot and murder, hatred and violence, and the fury of a burning ideology have plunged nations again to the brink of their own destruction.  Muslim, Jew, and Christian; is there reason?

Christian and Muslim children at play in Ethiopia;
it doesn't even cross their minds ....
The story is told of the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and a crabby neighbor lady. It's said that she would dump refuse in his path daily, perhaps to show her disapproval and disrespect. The Prophet never responded in kind but went on his way until the day came that she failed to appear with her garbage. Concerned, the Prophet inquired and found that she was taken ill. When he visited her home and sincerely offered his help, she was undone; humbled and ashamed of her heart and behavior. The book says he was sent as mercy to mankind.  Nice.  I suspect Jesus would have approved.

Muslim and Christian children
and their families share this 
neighborhood.  Nice folks, 
welcomed me graciously.

Muslim friends flagged me down and
insisted I give them a ride home.  They
knew I would be glad to, of course.
Oh, there's reason for the violence, of course. There are reasons aplenty for one group to slander, vilify, and slaughter another over their differences.   I suspect, though, that neither the Prophet, peace be upon him, nor Christ himself would acknowledge such people as followers.

On the desert's edge, Muslim friends wave as we
part for a season.  They'd welcomed me, a Christian,
as a frequent visitor among them and instructed
 me on the issues of survival.

Can two friends from across such a wide chasm sit together and pray, share a meal and laugh a bit, and then part, speaking a blessing of peace to each other?  Of course they can.  It happens all the time.  All the time, all over the world. 

It's just not news.

Go see for yourself. 




Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
Forgive our foolish ways;
Reclothe us in our rightful mind,
In purer lives Thy service find....

... it's the world you love, isn't it.
And not just my little group.