Come Let us Reason Together

say: “o people of the book!
come to common terms as between us
and you:
that we worship none but god;
that we associate no partners with him;
that we erect not, from among ourselves,
and patrons other than god."
if then they turn back, say: "
bear witness that we (at least)
are muslims (bowing to god's will)."
(surah al-i-'imran) holy qur'an 3:64

"people of the book" is the respectful title given to the jews and the christians in the holy qur'an. the muslim is here commanded to invite — "o people of the book!" — o learned people! o people who claim to be the recipients of divine revelation, of a holy scripture; let us gather together onto a common platform — "that we worship none but god", because none but god is worthy of worship, not because "the lord thy god is a jealous god visiting the inquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third
and fourth generation of them that hate me." (exodus 20:5j. but because he is our lord and cherisher, our sustainer and evolver, worthy of all praise, prayer and devotion.

in the abstract the jews and the christians would agree to all the three propositions contained in this qur'anic verse. in practice they fail. apart from doctrinal lapses from the unity of the one true god, (allah subhanahu wa ta-ala) there is the question of a consecrated priesthood (among the jews it was hereditary also), as if a mere human being—cohen, or pope, or priest, or brahman, —could claim superiority apart from his learning and the purity of his life, or could stand between man and god in some special sense. islam does not recognise priesthood!
the creed of islam is given to us here in a nutshell:

say ye: "we believe in allah,
and the revelation given to us,
and to abraham, isma'il, isaac, jacob, and the tribes,
and that given to moses and jesus
and that given to (all) prophets from their lord:
we make no difference between one and another of
them: and we bow to allah (in islam)."
(sura baqarah) holy qur'an 2:136

the muslim position is clear. the muslim does not claim to have a religion peculiar to himself. islam is not a sect or an ethnic religion. in its view all religions are one, for the truth is one. it was the same religion preached by
all the earlier prophets. (holy qur'an 42:135. it was the truth taught by all the inspired books. in essence it amounts to a consciousness of the will and plan of god and a joyful submission to that will and plan. if anyone wants a religion other than that, he is false to his own nature, as he is false to god's will and plan. such a one cannot expect guidance, for he has deliberately renounced guidance.

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