I think my break from telling the story of our trip is going to include two more entries – today’s blog on Islamic Values, and a final entry about the Muslim view of heaven, as explained to Children. One of my goals in visiting Oman was to try to understand how Muslims could describe Islam as a religion of peace when we see nothing but the most despicable acts from their representatives on the news every night. And their history! Western Civilization’s experience with Muslims was always in the context of wicked and brutal war. America created its own Navy because of Muslim Pirates in the Mediterranean Sea. Down through history, Muslim nations have been the poster child for bad neighbors.
I am still grappling with this, but I am starting to better understand what is in their heads and hearts. In my last entry, I shared the 99 Names of God in the Quran. Today, I would like to share a list of values drawn from their religious writings. I wish I could share the discussion of each that is found in the little book I found. The values are as follows:
Thoughtfulness and Exploration, Appreciating Beauty, Thankfulness, Caring for others, Generosity and Sharing, Sensitivity to suffering, Mercy and Forgiveness, Fairness and Justice, Living by the rules, Accountability to God, Being Self-Disciplined and Serene, Modesty and Humility, Cultivating Brotherhood, Unity and Harmony, Willingness to lead, Learning and Spreading the Message of the Quran . . . .
All right . . . we might have a problem with that last one because historically that has been done through violence and war – convert or die. But keep an open mind to the others . . .
Faithfulness and Steadfastness, Hope and Patience, Courageous and Confidence, Seeking of Knowledge, Honesty and Truthfulness, Realism and Self-Criticism, Being a Lover of Peace, and, finally, Reflection and Spirituality.
These are the things that Muslim’s aspire to . . . it reminds me of the Fruit of the Spirit from our New Testament. Clearly, the Islamic Extremists have missed something here and there. But again – remember our loving Kansas Church: who knows what they would do if given a chance to “lovingly” evangelize the world! Nut jobs can be found everywhere. Unfortunately, the islamic ones have guns, bombs, and place no value on lives, including their own.
Several times the people we met on our trip made a point to condemn the actions of the terrorists – they don’t understand what is happening in their world either. One of our cab drivers had had his family business in Pakistan blown up by the Taliban; now he was a cabbie in Dubai trying to provide for a family back home. In addition to knowing people everywhere are being killed in the name of God, Muslims bear the embarrassment of being connected in the eyes of the world with these brutal attacks. Yes, some sympathize and support those doing the attacks, but many others don’t. I plan to try to see Muslims through their own voices, as expressed in the values above. We each are responsible for how we live our own lives only and for what we do with God, regardless of the religious label we give ourselves.