Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fighting Poverty with Shirk?

I received the following press release from ISNA today. Sounds like a nice thing ... until you read the "interfaith prayer" closely. See for yourself and read my feedback at the end:


National Faith Leaders Offer Interfaith Prayer in Effort to Create Good Jobs, Green Jobs for Nation’s Poor

Source: ISNA (Washington, DC – October 13, 2009) Four national faith leaders representing Jews, Christians and Muslims have united to offer a new interfaith prayer calling for the creation of new, sustainable and green job opportunities for the poor.

Written by Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA); Rev. Larry Snyder, president and CEO of Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA); Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, general secretary of the National Council of Churches in Christ in the USA; and Dr. Sayyid Syeed, national director for the Islamic Society of North America’s Office for Interfaith and Community Alliances, the new prayer will be offered at public events across the country during the Fighting Poverty with Faith: Good Jobs, Green Jobs mobilization effort, including a special reading by the prayer’s authors at the Fighting Poverty with Faith’s concluding event in Washington on October 21.

Held this year between October 14 and 21, the Fighting Poverty with Faith mobilization will organize members from 34 national faith organizations at public events across the country to encourage government officials to fight poverty by ensuring equal opportunities for training and employment for the nation’s most vulnerable while working to usher in a new green economy.

The religious leaders’ prayer reads:

Merciful and compassionate God, Divine Architect, Your people and your planet call to you, for both are suffering.
So many of your children cry out for shelter, food, and meaningful work. Make us partners, we pray, in your work of caring for all in need.
So much of your Creation groans from the effects of our pollution. Make us partners, we pray, in your work of healing the earth. Help us to create jobs that both honor the needs of your planet as well as those holy souls who have no work.
Please give to those who lead a vision of the day when every person, created in your sacred image, has employment with a living wage. Give to us gathered here the courage to speak for those without voice, the strength to act on our convictions, the discernment to see the world as you want it to be, and the wisdom to respond together as persons of different faiths. In these moments with one another, may we feel your presence and together praise your holy name.

Okay readers ...

Will Dr. Sayyid Syeed from ISNA and other Muslims "leaders" be reading this "prayer," asking Allah (swt) to make His "children" partners with Him?!

I am shocked beyond words at ISNA. I'm sure I will have more to say later :)

The biggest problem here, other than the obvious shirk, is that ISNA seeks to represent all Muslims in North America. They are already trying to push their astrological dates on us for Ramadan and Eid.

I think it is dangerous that they will soon be the organization in America speaking for all Muslims. Then we will all have to abide by their view of Islam.


NtN said...

Oh...Wow. I didn't think it was that bad (maybe they meant partners with each other), until I finished reading the line.


Anonymous said...

I did not think it was that bad either---and I agree that it might be partners with each other in "God's work"(God's work=Good works)
Islam promotes tolerance compassion and good deeds.---it is best to give the benefit of the doubt and to at least acknowledge that regardless of the wording---the intentions are good.

Astrological calender---there is nothing wrong with that as the Quran promotes it---the word for "eye" (regarding the moon) means to see with the "minds eye" at least that is how I understood it. Like Hebrew, Arabic also has a system of "root words" creating a depth of meaning. ---Not to mention, the Quran is meant for ALL TIMES---including our modern times. As the Quran itself says---All knowledge, even scientific knowledge comes from God and can be used for our benefit (like medical technology for instance)---so technology can be of use to us in the performance of our religious duties.

Ms.Unique said...

Allahu musta'an :s

mostlypurple said...

I'm not so concerned with the phrase "make us partners" as I am with the part about "...every person, created in your sacred image...". Like anonymous, I interpret the partners part to mean partners with each other working toward the common goal, not assigning partners with Allah. But I'm stymied how can Isna reconcile the later statement that infers humans are made in Allah's image?!?

Muslim007 said...

Hmm... As i read it, i thought it was stating making "us" as in these various organizations partner up with one another for a common cause.
I am not big on the whole "interfaith" thing, but i know some muslim orgs love to do it to prove that they are human. I partner up with non muslims in just about every activity i do outside of worship. I don't feel the need to join something like this under a banner of a specific organization, but that's just how i operate.

Anonymous said...

I agree with mostlypurple -"sacred
image" is a bit disturbing/puzzling. Neither Judaism nor Islam anthropormophizes G-D/God. Christianity on the other hand seems to imagine God as a "male".---could it be this was added on later by an overzealous Christian?--as sometimes happens....it adds nothing to the intent/statement and could/should have been omitted.
At any rate---Muslims understand the concept of God---so maybe one slip can be forgiven?---hopefully, with more understanding and dialogue, greater care will be taken in any future statements?

wan zaharizan b wan zan said...

I am not an American so i do not know the fuss. To me words if it is offending to utter then don't. Mum is the key but not to participate praying for good is wrong. We have to find a balance. Partners to the Christians and to the Muslims means two different things, therefore when it comes to the word, mum is the best way. To use hisab to calculate Eid might be wrong to many so don't follow, no big deal, why accentuate the differences why not let them belief their way and let us belief ours!!! That is my thought!!!

Caminante said...

I think there are 2 ways of reading things... trying to find the bad... or trying to find the good!

And I think there's another thing called POETRY, metaphores, flowery rhetoric. I can say... "Oh my love, I am the moon and you are the sun". People can choose to point fingers at me and say... "you're a LIAR, you're not the moon, you're a human being!". Or people can say..."Oh, she's using language to mean that she shines with her husband's character" (or something like that).

This is the same.

Neither Jews nor Muslims believe that Allah swt has "REAL" children... we are His Creation. However, one can metaphorically think of one self as a "child of God". Because Allah swt has many attributes that we can relate to paternal attributes. So we can think of this while we think that "there's nothing whatsoever like Him".

The same thing with "partners". Neither the Jews, nor the Christians believe that we human beings are "partners with God" (ok the Christians have an exception which is Isa (as) which they think was partner but the rest isn't). So again for me "partners" means that God established a "partnership" in which He is Allah, our God, our Creator, our Everything, and we are the khulafa of this planet earth, with a duty established by Allah swt. So I think when they say..."make us partners"... they are not asking for shirk AT ALL, but rather asking to be on "God's side" to do good, etc.

Finally, there's a hadith in sahih Bukhari that says:

Narrated Abu Hurairah: The Prophet said: ‘Allah created Adam in His Image’” (Vol. 8, #246).

Now we as Muslims when we see this hadith, we AFFIRM what is says, and we consign the meaning to Allah swt.

So no, in my opinion, there's no shirk in the prayer and nothing wrong with it.

And Allah swt knows best.

Unknown said...

Asalaamu alaykum,

I do not agree with the concept of man being created in God's image, because God is not like anything in His creation at all. We have in surah al ikhlas, wa lam yukuun lahuu kufuwan ahad, and He (Allah) is not comparable to anyone. So I was really surprised when I saw that hadith you quoted. I got out my copy of Bukhari to look it up. Maybe it's my translation, but where you say "in His image", mine just says "in his shape..." without the caps. Here is the full text of the Hadith:

Volume 8, Book 74, Number 246:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, "Allah created Adam in his complete shape and form (directly), sixty cubits (about 30 meters) in height. When He created him, He said (to him), "Go and greet that group of angels sitting there, and listen what they will say in reply to you, for that will be your greeting and the greeting of your offspring." Adam (went and) said, 'As-Salamu alaikum (Peace be upon you).' They replied, 'AsSalamu-'Alaika wa Rahmatullah (Peace and Allah's Mercy be on you) So they increased 'Wa Rahmatullah' The Prophet added 'So whoever will enter Paradise, will be of the shape and form of Adam. Since then the creation of Adam's (offspring) (i.e. stature of human beings is being diminished continuously) to the present time."

I am definitely not a scholar, but I agree with the Da'ii Ahmed Deedat's (Allahu yarhamuh) that the idea of children of God has become corrupted. For the Christians it became corrupted with the taking of Isa as a son of God (begotten and not made, according to the argument) and with some sects of Jews taking the prophet Ezra as a son of God. There are even references to begotten sons in the Old Testament, such as David and Israel... that God adopted them as begotten sons, using the words "This day I have begotten you..." Of course, we as Muslims know that it is a terrible crime and sin to attribute to God any children, and for safety we should stay away from even calling someone as a spiritual child of God. The Qur'an says that even the mountains are ready to crumble at the people's saying God has taken a son.

Finally I have to agree, although it might be with a good intention that "partners with God" was included to mean partners in doing good, that we Muslims can not follow such a statement as the Muslim position is that we are the slaves and servants of God. We try to do the good works on Earth and represent Him on Earth not as His partners but as His slaves... but I guess at this point the issue is on semantics and choice of words.

Anyway, I'm sorry, I know I'm probably coming off a little bit attacking, and I don't mean to and I hope that you don't take offense.

May Allah guide us and protect all of us from every form of shirk, whether it be major or minor. Ameen.

Safiyyah said...

Salaams Emily:

Certainly - no offense!

Jazaka Allahu Khayrn for the thorough comment. It is much appreciated!