*In my previous article I promised to discuss the concept of common grace, general revelation, receptive humility and reflective commitment in connection with the story of Nafisat. Here is that discussion

Common Grace: God is merciful; He has given meaning to everything that happens on this planet earth and He controls everything (religious and non-religious).  I could see passion in the practice of their religion; the ability to search and seek his face is evidence that God communicates through that religion. I agree with the recommendation of W. Cantwell Smith (The Meaning and End of Religion), quoted by Newbigin that; “we should cease talking about different ‘religions’ and speak rather of the religiousness which is the human response to the one transcendent reality…”[1] When we focus on our responses to the one transcended, we will notice most religions possess common intention. I see this present in my conversation with Nafisat..

General Revelation: In this point, I will like to start by quoting Newbigin; in his response to an idea that other religions and ideologies are wholly false and the Christian has nothing to learn from them, he writes; “The sensitive Christian mind, enlightened by Christ, cannot fail to recognize and to rejoice in the abundant spiritual fruits to be seen in the lives of men and women of other faiths.”[2] God is revealed in all religions and faith; all religions and faiths have common intention of responding the transcendent being. In my interaction with Nafisat, I came to understand how passionate she was to please God. She confirms it to me that; Islam has the same teaching and history with Christianity; in her words, she said “I couldn’t see much difference in these two religions, only that Christians claims that Jesus is God and in contrast, we Muslims believe that Jesus is a prophet.”

The followers of Islamic religion are aware of God, they acknowledge God as creator, giver of blessing, judge, and protector, and respond to God in offering, plea, and proclamation. Nafisat told me that; when in terms of disaster or trouble, she runs to God for safety – she believes that submitting her problems to God is the best thing to do.  There is something to learn about other religions as Goldingay suggests; “They are not inherently demonic or merely sinful human attempts to reach God. We can learn from them.”[3]

Receptive Humility

With respect to the religion’s formal, communal rituals and to their informal, more personal and private devotional practices, there is a lot to learn from the Islamic religion. Some compulsory practices of Islamic religion such as:

Prayer: Muslim observes prayer five times a day and join in community worship on Friday at the Mosque, where worship is led by an Imam. Prayer in Islam means a physical act of prostration before God.

Fasting: This practice takes place during one month of the Muslim calendar, ‘the month of Ramadan between the hours of dawn and sunset’. During this time nothing should enter the body of a Muslim, so that Muslims should abstain not only from food and drink but also from such things as having injections.

Dressing: It unlawful for a Muslim woman to show up her body publicly. When you observe the public appearance of Muslim sisters in the world, you will notice their decent appearance; not exposing body figure.

The above practices in Islam have spoken sense into the practice of my own faith. You will find out that; most Christians do not take the above rituals seriously, more especially the aspect of covering our nakedness by our Christian sisters – 99% of ladies roaming the street half-naked are Christian women. We feel God does not care about our physical appearance but our heart. For Muslims, your appearance is very important because it is part of your spirituality and integrity – they believe that, when you expose your body you are bringing insult to Allah, and you receive punishment for that. Christians, we are said to be the light of the world – “let your so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven.” Matt. 5:16

We should pray and fast consistently; the devil has taken advantage of our weakness in spiritual commitment (prayer and fasting). When you study Islam you will understand that they have committed themselves to these spiritual exercises. Practically, you will see how they rush to the mosque during each time of their prayers every day. They quit doing whatever activities they are engaged in and all resort to praying. During the Ramadan period 95% Muslims observe the fasting, even little children are trained gradually on how to fast and pray.

My interaction with Islamic religion has encouraged my faith commitment; I have learnt to commit myself to God at all times irrespective of my personal business or activity, being dedicated in prayers and fasting, and also being careful with my appearance in public. I shouldn’t do anything that will humiliate my religion before the public. As Christians, we should learn how to develop our children in the religious practices (prayer, fasting and studying the word of God), and engage in spiritual activities.

Reflective Commitment

In our conversation with Nafisat, she shares with me her fears, desires and hope in life:

·         Fear: like every other human, Nafisat is afraid of the unknown. She said that; “I am afraid of the Day of Judgment, will I be welcomed by Allah or rejected?” This fear consumes her because she finds it difficult to get rid of sin; knowing fully well that a sinner cannot be saved on the Judgment day. The gospel speaks to her fears in the following verses: 1 Cor. 15:3-4 “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,….” NIV; 1 Peter 3:18 “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit,” NIV and Eph. 2:1-5

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved.  NIV

·         Desire: her desire is to live a life that will please her creator (God), a life free of sin. She also wants to be a “hafiza” (a Muslim woman that memorizes the Quran). The gospel also speaks of her desires in the following verses: 1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. NIV

·         Hope: all her life, Nafisat hopes to one day be in “Jannah” paradise. This is the hope of every believer in Islam and Christianity. The scripture makes us understand that our hope is in Christ; “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:3-5

By

Martin H. Kamaidan

Saved by Grace


[1]  Lesslie Newbigin, The Basis, Purpose And Manner Of Inter-Faith Dialogue (Scottish Journal of Theology, 1977), 2

[2] Ibid. 3

[3] John Goldingay, Everngelical Interfaith Dialogue (www.fuller.edu/eifd, 2015), 5

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