Chesterton: Jerusalem, a small town of big things

Jerusalem is a small town of big things; and the average modern city is a big town full of small things. All the most important and interesting powers in history are here gathered within the area
of a quiet village; and if they are not always friends, at least they are necessarily neighbours.

--GK Chesterton
The New Jerusalem
Ch. VI


anonymous2 said…
I'm sorry, but I'm still replying to your reply to my comment.

Well, I don't exacty know what's written in the Quran, and I can't do research on the topic right now, but I'm talking generally.

As humans, we are equal. But we are judged on the choices we make. Doesn't God fulfill the need and wants of people from every religion?

Shirk, or associating partners with God in Islam is the highest sin. "Say: He is Allah, the One. Allah the Self-Sufficieant Master, whom all creatures need. He begets not, nor was he begotten. And there is none equal to Him."

Even if a person who calls him/herself a Muslim but then goes and worships graves, will come under the category of a person doing shirk.

If a Christian or Jew is mentioned, as you said: Worst creation ( I don't know if that's what exactly they are called, I'm going with what you said).

Then, it's bacause of the chioces they made. They were born innocent and on the natural state of belief, but they choose to willingly associate partners with God.

May God forgive me if I'm mistaken. Any mistake I have made, is from my ownself. I don't call myself a brilliant Muslim or a great representative of Islam, but I thought, I'll just write what I thought about it.
Abu Daoud said…
Hi Anyonymous2:

I think you have said it quite clearly: the Quran states that certain persons are the "worse of all creation" and that others are "the best of all people." It doesn't really matter how or where the line is drawn, but Islam is very clear that we are not all equal and in fact, God does NOT fulfill the desires and wants of people from every religion. Certainly not the ones who are the worse of all peoples, at least.
Anonymous said…
I didn't say that the Quran states that. I said it b'coz that's what you mentioned in your post.

Who, if not God, fulfills the needs and wants of everyone?

Then, as a Christian, do you believe that God does not fulfill me needs?
Abu Daoud said…
Marhaba ya Um Abdallah, I'm not sure if you speak Arabic, but if you prefer to communicate in Arabic we can do that. Also, I am happy to converse with you by e-mail: winterlightning [at] safe-mail [dot] net, please do e-mail me.

I suppose my question at this point is regarding the word 'fulfill'. When we talk about God fulfilling the needs of people, I would say there are at least two meanings here, and we need to figure out which one we are discussing.

One would mean that God is, in the end, what humans desire and need and want, even if they don't know it. In this sense then yes, we could say that God fulfills the needs of all people. It would also mean that if we let him fulfill our needs, we would become Muslims, because that is the path or way he has laid out.

Secondly, it could mean that God in fact gives to certain people what they want and ask of him, and to others he does not. This second way of speaking is what I was talking about. In this understanding we must recognize that according to the Quran some people are better than others. Muslims are better than Christians; Christians are better than pagans. "Allah loves the righteous and hates the wicked." Here is a short list of the people that Allah hates (and presumably whose desires are not fulfilled):

# Transgressors (2:190).
# Ungrateful and wicked creatures (2:276).
# Those who reject faith (3:32; 30:45).
# Those who do wrong (3:57, 140; 42:40).
# The arrogant, the vainglorious (4:36; 16:23; 31:18; 57:23).
# Those given to excess (5:87).
# Wasters (6:141; 7:31).
# Treacherous (8:58).
# Ungrateful (22:38).

In any case, Um Abdullah, I am very happy to have this conversation with you. I certainly sense that in you is the love of truth and humility towards Allah, inna dhaalik rahma wa ni3ma min 3ind Allah.
Anonymous said…
Personally, I believe that God fulfills everyones needs and wants.

“And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them, by My knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright.” [al-Baqarah 2:186].

And again, we are equal as human beings, but what differenciates us are the choices we make.
Abu Daoud said…
Hello Um Abdullah,

My understanding is that "my slaves" in Al Baqara refers only to Muslims. I would be interested in hearing of any other interpretation that includes Christians and Jews in that group.
Anonymous said…

I personally believe that it means everyone.

63. Say (O Muhammad): "Who rescues you from the darkness of the land and of the sea , (when) you call upon him in humility and in secret (saying) If He (Allah) only saves us from this (danger), we shall truly, be grateful."

64. Say (O Muhammad): "Allah rescues you from this and from all (other) distresses, and yet you worship others beside Him."

[Al- An'am 6: 63, 64]

So, in this, it's indicated that they make dua'a to Allah while sill being disbelievers, and have their dua'a answered.

12. And when harm touches man, he invokes Us, lying on his side, or sitting, or standing. But when We have removed this harm from him, he passes on as if he had never invoked Us for a harm that touched him! Thus it is made fair-seeming to the Musrifun that which they used to do. [10:12]

Musrifun: Those who belied Allah and His Prophets, and that which they used to do.

Which translation do you use?

Take Care.
Abu Daoud said…
Hello Um Abdullah,

Then we are in agreement. God loves everyone and is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." We also believe that the very purpose and goal of the human being is to love God and enjoy him forever.

In our friendship with God we find the true meaning of love, not that we have loved God, but that he first loved us and has invited us to be adopted as his sons and daughters.

I am aware that this is not a popular topic with Muslims, as adoption is forbidden by the shari'a, but I feel it is a good topic. I would be curious to hear your thoughts on the proposal that God is willing to adopt us as his sons and daughters.

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