If I understand the verses below from the Qur’an correctly, it is obligatory for every Muslim to practice “da’wah” – to “invite” or summon all people to Allah and the true understanding of the faith of Islam so they might follow the straight path and thereby escape hell-fire and obtain Paradise.
And if I understand the verses below from the Bible correctly, it is obligatory for every follower of Jesus to practice “evangelism” – to proclaim to all people the Gospel (literally, Good News) that if they follow Jesus as his disciples and put their faith in his death on the cross for their sins, they will escape hell and enjoy God’s forgiveness and presence in Heaven forever.
Is it possible, then, for Muslims and Christians to share their faiths with each other with compassion, mutual respect, and integrity?
A group of Muslims and Christians in Great Britain known as the Christian Muslim Forum say a resounding “Yes!”
But. . .they have also put together a very interesting list of ethical guidelines for Muslim da’wah and Christian evangelism.
You can find that list below.
Christian Muslim Forum
Ethical Guidelines for Christian and Muslim Witness in Britain
As members of the Christian Muslim Forum we are deeply committed to our own faiths (Christianity and Islam) and wish to bear faithful witness to them. As Christians and Muslims we are committed to working together for the common good. We recognise that both communities actively invite others to share their faith and acknowledge that all faiths have the same right to share their faith with others. There are diverse attitudes and approaches amongst us which can be controversial and raise questions. This paper is not a theology of Christian evangelism or mission or Da’wah (invitation to Islam), rather it offers guidelines for good practice. The Christian Muslim Forum offers the following suggestions that, we hope, will equip Christians and Muslims (and others) to share their faith with integrity and compassion for those they meet.
1) We bear witness to, and proclaim our faith not only through words but through our attitudes, actions and lifestyles.
2) We cannot convert people, only God can do that. In our language and methods we should recognise that people’s choice of faith is primarily a matter between themselves and God.
3) Sharing our faith should never be coercive; this is especially important when working with children, young people and vulnerable adults. Everyone should have the choice to accept or reject the message we proclaim and we will accept people’s choices without resentment.
4) Whilst we might care for people in need or who are facing personal crises, we should never manipulate these situations in order to gain a convert.
5) An invitation to convert should never be linked with financial, material or other inducements. It should be a decision of the heart and mind alone.
6) We will speak of our faith without demeaning or ridiculing the faiths of others.
7) We will speak clearly and honestly about our faith, even when that is uncomfortable or controversial.
8) We will be honest about our motivations for activities and we will inform people when events will include the sharing of faith.
9) Whilst recognising that either community will naturally rejoice with and support those who have chosen to join them, we will be sensitive to the loss that others may feel.
10) Whilst we may feel hurt when someone we know and love chooses to leave our faith, we will respect their decision and will not force them to stay or harass them afterwards.
(Postscript: So. . .my Muslim and Christian readers. . .is it our spiritual duty to share our faiths with each other?
In addition to spiritual duty, shouldn’t we also share what we believe because we truly love each other? Share from our particular faith perspective about who God is, why Jesus came, and how we can enter Paradise from this great motive?
Shouldn’t we love each other too much to be silent?
After all, I think we all believe that our eternal destiny is at stake!
(Please see another post of mine on this incredibly vital subject: http://markv63.sg-host.com/2012/07/i-love-you-too-much-to-be-silent/.)
Finally, what do you think about these guidelines? Please hit the “Leave a Reply” button below and share your thoughts about my questions as well as the 10 Ethical Guidelines for Christian and Muslim Witness above. Shukran!)