He was seated at the front, eager ears and eyes listened and looked on. He would speak about the common ground between Christianity and Islam. ‘In Kenya, little is known about Muslims. Often they are stereotyped and pigeonholed, quite unfairly.’ He began in this way.
Mohammed and historical points
Mohammed was born in the year AD 570, in Asia. Whereat Judaism and Christianity coexisted. Sperling is convinced that Mohammed must have been a brilliant person, charismatic. Around him formed what could be termed as the first intellectual circle of Mohammedans.
30 years after Mohammed died, the followers of Mohammed set out to spread their newly born religion. Sperling is convinced that the expeditions to conquer new grounds were not ordered to forceful conversions to Islam. As proof, he cites the fact that when Constantinople was captured, Christianity was not banned.
Tenets of the Muslim faith
‘Muslims are seriously misunderstood and stereotyped. Kenyans know very little about Islam’. The name Islam is close to the Swahili word ‘kusalimu’. To surrender everything, to obey, it means. For Muslims, the most important thing is to obey God’s commandments. To do God’s will. This is so much the conviction to the extent that forcing another to do Allah’s will, is pleasing to God. In some sects, freedom has no place.
Even with the perceived lack of freedom, Sperling warns us not to think their devout practices a drudgery. The intention is an essential part of their prayer. ‘Kunuia’ in Kiswahili, to have an intention. They know that without an intention, one has not prayed well.
For the Muslims, theology is far too superior to the human being. It is not the main study. The Muslim faith’s main study is how to be a good Muslim which is called orthopraxis. In Christianity, theology is studied to a great depth: orthodoxy.
As Christians, we have known the Triune God to be our loving Friend. The best of friends. In Islam he is removed from the people, he is not perceived as Friend. He is One to be solemnly revered.
Muslims are good people. We surely can make friends with them.