Recently an article appeared in a magazine on a denominational church’s website entitled, “A Moravian and Muslim Answer to an Imam’s Request”. It is the story of two church members who, after living in the United States for many years, returned to the place of their birth, a village in Sierra Leone. They, with the help of their church, have built a mission house, a school and a church in the village.
The population of the village is reported to be 90 percent Muslim, but the mission group maintains a good relationship with these Muslims. A church member visiting the village paid a visit to the Imam at the mosque in the village. After her visit, she asked if there was anything she could do to return his hospitality. His reply was the mosque was in need of prayer rugs so after returning to the United States the need was shared with other congregations.
Through an interfaith clergy group a pastor with the help of an imam in his city was able to purchase the prayer rugs and send them to the mosque in the village. The magazine applauded this effort and described the pastor and the imam as overjoyed that their friendship made them part of an interfaith effort stretching from the United States to Sierra Leone.
Unfortunately, as this well-intentioned effort by these Christians demonstrates, they obviously do not understand the teachings of Islam or the implications of their gift.
Prayer rugs are used for the ritual prayer, or salat, that Muslims perform five times daily at: dawn, midday, afternoon, sunset, and evening. Most prayer rugs have a mihrab (niche), an arch-shaped design at one end of the carpet. Muslim worshipers must point the mihrab toward Mecca when praying. When performing salat at the mosque, worshipers line up in parallel rows behind the prayer leader (imam) who directs them in actions and words. As part of the salat, Muslims recite Al-Fatiha, the first sura (or chapter) found in the Qur’an.
Although recited in Arabic, the English translation is:
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the universe.
He is the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
He is the Master of the Day of Judgment.
It is you we worship, it is you we ask for help.
Guide us in the straight path.
The path of those you have blessed, as opposed
to those who incur wrath and have gone astray.
One English version translates the end of the sura like this, “The way of those on whom you have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned your Anger (such as the Jews), nor of those who went astray (such as the Christians). Islamic scholars verify the understanding by Muslims that Jews are those who earned Allah’s anger and Christians are those who went astray.
Each time Muslims in the village in Sierra Leone use the prayer rugs given to them by Christians they are declaring the very Christians who gave the gift have been led astray. Muslims believe the Bible was corrupted and the teachings of the Qur’an supersede the Bible. The gift of the prayer rugs affirms Islamic worship as a valid path to God, yet Muslims do not believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God; to them it is considered blasphemy. In fact they do not believe God has a Son.
Unwittingly, these Christians have in fact presented a gift in the form of prayer rugs to those who are lost that does nothing to bring Muslims closer to the Truth.
RELIGION PRAYER POINTS:
- Pray that churches and denominations will have their eyes open to the truth of the teachings of Islam and learn that their followers do not worship the God of the Christians.
- Pray that God will raise up missionaries to the Muslim world who will courageously proclaim the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Pray that those involved in interfaith relationships will be moved to boldly go before the throne of grace and contend for the souls of those that God has brought across their path.
- Pray that servants of Christ will demonstrate the love of our Savior to others, including Muslims, without compromise.