|One of the most often repeated phrases from the lips of Muslims worldwide is the Arabic words “Allah-U-Akbar” which means G-d is greater”. This compound phrase serves as a reminder that G-d is greater than any and everything in our lives. Allah is Arabic for G-d, and Akbar is Arabic which means greater, bigger, and more important.
Power and Beauty of Interfaith Fellowship
March 1, 2010
Christians and Jews all agree that we have two fathers in
common, Adam and Abraham.
Adam is our father because our three faiths believe him to
be the first man created, or established by G-d. And Abraham
is called “Father of the nations” in the Old Testament and
in the Holy Qur’an he is called the “Imam (leader) of the
nations (mankind).” The common root that unites all of the
children of Abraham – Christians, Jews and Muslims – is
These two fathers give us all a common relationship that
says that in the beginning we all were one community - the
family of mankind.
This truth is magnified in Islam’s holy book, which reads:
“Mankind was one
single nation, and Allah (G-d) sent Messengers with glad
tidings and warnings; and with them He sent the Book in
truth, to judge between people in matters wherein they
differed; but the People of the Book, after the clear Signs
came to them, did not differ among themselves, except
through selfish contumacy. Allah by His Grace Guided the
believers to the Truth, concerning that wherein they
differed. For Allah guided whom He will to a path that is
straight.” (Qur’an chapter 2: verse 213)
Our Creator promises that he will reunite His people.
However, too many people in almost every religion seem to
claim that this “reunion” will favor their particular
practice of faith. Allah (G-d) says that he knows best.
Further, Allah says that the best among us is the one who is
most mindful of serving Him.
Inclusive prescriptions of human excellence that do not
favor one race, gender or religion over another is the
beauty and power of interfaith. But, unequivocally and
emphatically, interfaith is not the watering-down of one’s
personal faith when interacting with a believer of another
An enormous mercy that interfaith yields is the opportunity
to learn firsthand of another believer’s faith directly from
one who lives that particular faith.
Today we live in a global society; a worldwide community of
humanity. Interfaith fellowship grants excellent
opportunities to expand one’s familiarity with the inner
workings of the other person’s faith.
All around America these exchanges are being established -
and quite unpretentiously. In many aspects Indianapolis may
be on the cutting edge of America’s interfaith activities.
Our interfaith initiatives have borne local, national and
international results that include clothing and feeding the
citizens of Indianapolis via the Interfaith Alliance of
Indianapolis and the Interfaith Hunger Initiative (IHI).
This hunger effort has now extended to Kenya, Africa.
Another entity, the International Interfaith Initiative
(III) working with Muslim, Christians and Jews have built
four Habitat for Humanity homes in Indianapolis and one home
in Amman, Jordan.
There are many other local interfaith activities, but at
this time I’ll only mention one more. The National Alliance
for Mental Illness (NAMI) has a project called Faith-CEP,
which is an educational arm to teach clergy members of all
faiths about mental illness. Faith-CEP has benefited people
of all faiths - and their families who are challenged with
mental illnesses in our respective communities.
We thank our Creator for giving us the proper patience
needed in order for interfaith dialogue to take root and
become a part of our lives.
We thank G_d for giving us a common respect for our fathers
Adam and Abraham. It is through interfaith communication
that we are recognizing that we have much more in common
than issues that divide us.
Our interfaith exchanges and discussion have served as a
sharpening stone that has helped hone our faith and
sensitized us to our common human excellence. Quite
honestly, I say without reservation that interfaith
involvement has made me a much better Muslim.
NOTE: The spelling of G-d for “god” is used when referencing
or mentioning our Creator to avoid the spelling “God”, which
in reverse spells “Dog.” We feel that it is disrespectful to
have a spelling for our Creator that reminds the reader of a
dog. Surely our Creator is Greater!
Al-Islam In America welcomes your questions and comments.
Please forward them to: Al-Islam In America, c/o Imam Mikal
Saahir, Nur-Allah Islamic Center, 2040 E. 46th St. Indpls,
IN 46205. Or email:
Coming soon from
Mikal Saahir: The book
“The Honorable Elijah Muhammad-The Man Behind the Men.”