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Prophet Muhammad's Relations With Christians: Lessons For Our Time

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Dr. Craig Considine

on 21 April 2018

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Transcript of Prophet Muhammad's Relations With Christians: Lessons For Our Time

Our Agenda

1. State of Christian-Muslim Relations
2. The Covenants
3. Theories
4. The Monks of Mount Sinai
5. The Christians of Najran
6. The Christian World
7. Discussion
8. Call to Action
The Clash or Dialogue of Civilizations?
And what about the endangerment of the Grayzone?
The energetic engagement with diversity
The encounter of commitments
The practice of speaking and listening
The process of criticism and self-criticism
Religious Pluralism
*DEUCE*
Saint Catherine's Monastery
"A bishop shall not be removed from his bishoporic, nor a monk from his monastery, nor a hermit from his tower, nor shall a pilgrim be hindered from his pilgrimage. Moreover, no building from among their churches shall be destroyed, nor shall the money from their churches be used for the building of mosques or houses for the Muslims."
The Covenant of the
Prophet Muhammad with the Monks of Mount Sinai
Dhimmi
("protected people")
al-mu'minin
("the faithful")
"If a monk or pilgrim seeks protection, in mountain or valley, in a cave or in tilled fields, in the plain, in the desert, or in a church, I am behind them, defending them from every enemy; I, my helpers, all the members of my religion, and all my followers, for they [the monks and the pilgrims] are my proteges and my subjects... I protect them from interference with their supplies and from the payment of taxes save what they will willingly renounce. There shall be no compulsion or constraint against them in any of these matters."
The Covenant of the
Prophet Muhammad with the Monks of Mount Sinai
... the Prophet let the Christians
of Najran pray in his Medina mosque...
The Covenant of the
Prophet with the Christians of Najran
"The Muslims must not abandon the Christians, neglect them, and leave them without help and assistance since I have made this pact with them on behalf of Allah to ensure that whatever good befell Muslims it would befall them as well and that whatever harm may befall Muslims would befall them as well."
The Covenants of the
Prophet Muhammad with the Monks of Mount Sinai
"If in the interest of the benevolent Muslim public, and of their faith, Muslims shall ask of the Christians for assistance, the latter shall not deny them that help, as an expression of friendship and goodwill, they are to render... we deem all help and succor rendered to them every way legitimate."
How do you
define the
ummah?
The
ummah
as a civic nation

Belonging is not predicated
on race or ethnicity...
... but rather civil rights and citizenship
The Covenant of the
Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World

"The covenant of Allah is that I should protect their land, their monasteries, with my power, my horses, my men, my strength, and my Muslim followers in any region, far away or close by, and that I should protect their businesses. I grant security to them, their churches, their businesses, their houses of worship, the places of their monks, the places of their pilgrims, wherever they may be found."
And what about the
Qur'an?
ahl al kitab
("People of the Book")
"Those who believe in the
Qur'an
and those who follow the Jewish scriptures, and the
Christians
and the Sabians - any who believe in God and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve" (
Qur'an
2:62)
"There shall be
no compulsion
in religion" (
Qur'an
2:256)
Prophet Muhammad's Relations With Christians
DR.CRAIG CONSIDINE

craig.m.considine@rice.edu
What kind of nation
do we want to live in?
1. The Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Monks of Mount Sinai
2. The Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of Persia
3. The Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of Najran
4. The Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World (Mount Carmel)
5. The Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World (Cairo)
6. The Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Assyrian Christians
7. The Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World
"A blessing, a warning, and a sign..."
What about the world?
Call to Action
A third foundational Islamic text next to Qur'an and Hadith?
Dr. John Andrew Morrow
Civic Nation
Foster Religious Pluralism
Strengthen Civic National Principles
Promote the Dialogue of Civilizations
Deny ISIS & Islamophobes the Binary Struggle
Join The Covenants Initiative
Lessons For Our Time
State-nation
Contract (elective)
Civil society
Voluntaristic
Subjective data
Freedom
Citizenship
RACIAL STATE
Racial-genealogical
Cultural nation
Fundamental characters
Objective criteria
Ancestry
Blood and language

Hypothesis
The original intent of Muhammad was not to create a strictly "Muslim state," but rather a confederation of the Peoples of the Book, where equal rights were extended to all.

The Antithesis of an "Islamic State"
The Covenant of the People with the Christians of Najran
"Ibrahim the monk, and 'Isa the Bishop, came to see me, accompanied by forty horsemen from Najran along with others who, like them, profess the Christian religion in the lands of Arabia as well as foreign lands. I informed them of my mission and asked them to help reinforce it, to proclaim it, and to assist it."
The Covenants of the People with the Christians of Najran
"And since the cause of Allah appeared evident to them, they did not turn back on their steps nor did they turn their backs. On the contrary, they drew close, remained firm, consented, assisted, confirmed, made generous promises, gave good advice, and assured me by means of oaths and covenants that they would support the truth which I brought and that they would repel those who refused and contradicted it."
The Covenants of the People with the Christians of Najran
"I therefore called the leaders of the Muslims and my main Companions and having stood surety to the demand of the Christians, I prepared this document, which Muslims whether or not they detain power, are obliged to preserve from generation to generation, to carry out my orders in order to abide by the obligation of loyalty and respect towards those who requested this covenant of me, and to be faithful to the obligations which I have contracted, so that they not be reproached for having disobeyed my order."
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